A Call to Action: Texas Cuts Funding to Early Intervention Programs

State of Texas with Stethoscope

Early intervention, speech, and ABA therapy can be incredibly life-changing. We believe that this therapy should be as accessible as possible for families of all socio-economic backgrounds. Unfortunately, Texas lawmakers have enacted severe budget cuts that will soon impact many families’ ability to provide therapy for their children.

In short, Texas legislators have cut Medicaid funding for therapy services, including speech, autism, and occupational therapy, for thousands of Texas children with disabilities. Although a lawsuit was filed to halt the budget cuts, the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear the case. Now, starting on December 15th, those budget cuts will be officially applied.

While this is obviously devastating news for our community, there is still a chance that the budget cuts may be reversed. House Speaker Joe Straus has shown interest in addressing the issue during the next House session, beginning in January.

Therapy services such as the ones being cut by Medicaid are vital to our children and our communities. Please join us in contacting our representatives to ensure that these children do not continue to lose healthcare services. House Speaker Joe Straus’ mailing address, email address, and phone number are listed here. As we near the upcoming House session, it is imperative that we remind him how much of a difference these therapies are to our children and our families. In addition, you can email or phone Governor Greg Abbott or Lt. Governor Dan Patrick.

At Building Blocs, we witness daily the immense change that early intervention therapies can make in children’s lives and the lives of their family. These therapies should be accessible for all children, including those on Medicaid. The funding necessary to help children with disabilities is not excess to be cut from Texas’ budget; instead, it is essential to the upbringing and well-being of Texas’ children.

Autism Awareness: Tips For Reaching Out

Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue

If you know someone who has autism or a child with autism, it may be difficult for you to know how to interact with them or their child.  This can be made more difficult by misinformation you may have been given that people with autism are not affectionate, loving, or interested in social interactions.  This is not true.  What’s true is that everyone is a unique individual and has their own social preferences.  

A few useful tips when reaching out to a  child with autism:

  • Don’t be afraid to say “hi” and invite them to participate in things you are doing; they might just say no, but frequently they’re not sure how to join in on their own. 
  • Children with autism may need a little more time to be in an environment and watch before they feel comfortable to join in.
  • When giving directions or interacting, be as direct and concrete as possible.
  • Give lots of choices, both for participation and within the activity.  (“You can keep watching or  come stand here and throw the ball.”)

Ask a the child’s parent for tips on interacting with their individual child, BUT, don’t do it in front of the child.  

Today is World Autism Awareness Day.  And as you go about your day today, you might notice lots of blue.  

Autism Speaks has started it’s “Light It Up Blue” campaign to help spread awareness. You can learn more about autism here or support them and this project from their website.