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Michigan rolls out plan to address autism needs

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Last year, Michigan enacted a law that requires insurance companies to cover childhood autism treatments.

Today, the Michigan Department of Community Health will roll out its autism coverage plan.

There are about 50,000 people in Michigan with autism.  It’s a disorder that effects communication and social skills.

Autism Coordinator for the state of Michigan Lisa Grost says autism is one of the fastest-growing medical diagnoses.

"We know there are a lot of people out there who are living with autism who are now going to get the services that they need," said Grost. "We are looking at increasing resources and services for people with autism all the way from early childhood through their adult years as well as supporting families and professionals who are working with people with autism.

She added that early identification, treatment, and support can change the lives of people with autism.

"Hopefully, we will have more people graduating from high school, as well as being able to get jobs, live more independently," said Grost. "And I mean more independently, maybe not fully independently, but they may be able to live outside their family unit with some support systems in place."

Grost says people with autism often have specific technical skills that make them valuable employees, but need help managing other aspects of their lives.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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