Boise, ID – A local facility that has provided education, advocacy and general support for individuals with autism for the past 8 years has been forced to shut down due to financial constraints.
Founded by Director Stephanie Spencer in 2006, the Idaho Center for Autism will close its doors due to state-mandated regulatory changes in addition to the economic impact of the countrywide recession. Spencer suggests that changes to laws pertaining to insurance coverage for autism-related services were the primary reason for the difficulties the center faced in its final years of operation.
Spencer also argues that the onus eventually fell upon families to either pay the fees themselves or secure funding through Medicaid which ultimately proved to be inadequate. As a result, services at the center were no longer sustainable with many of its therapists stating that they were no longer able to provide those attending the facility with the programming that they needed.
Representatives for the state’s Department of Health and Welfare counter that the funding had not changed and that the benefits provided through them had simply been adjusted. However Spencer asserts that autism services in Idaho lag behind those in other states and that families will have to urge the government to make the changes they feel are necessary.