Nevada autism groups question ‘inadequate’ salaries for workers of new autism program

childrenCARSON CITY, Nev. — Members of four autism groups representing parents caring for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Nevada have expressed concern over what they believe is ‘inadequate’ salaries of workers for Nevada’s new autism program.

The parents fear that the new initiative, which is set to begin Jan. 1 next year, might fail due to the inadequate amount of salary that the state is willing to give the workers.

The new autism program will help children with ASD in Nevada avail of applied behavior analysis (ABA), a type of therapy believed to be most effective in helping children with autism. About 1,879 children are expected to benefit from the new program, but Nevada currently only has 97 certified behavioral technicians who provide the therapy.

Parents are concerned that the $29.50 per hour rate being offered by the state government to pay for the recruitment of additional workers is a far cry from the $44-58 range being offered in other states.

The groups in charge of recruiting new therapists are asking the state for a rate of $40 per hour.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the groups told:

“The members of Families for Effective Autism Treatment urge the governor and his agencies to put our children first… Those who do not receive this early intervention are almost guaranteed to be institutionalized as adults with an average cost of $3.6 million over their lifetimes.”

The Department of Health and Human Services in the state will evaluate the rates in a hearing scheduled Oct. 19.

Source: Sean Whaley: Las Vegas Review-Journal: Salaries for new state autism program questioned