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"Lovaas believed Skinner's ideas might benefit the autistic," says Clickkeyword[Eric+Larssen]" >Eric Larssen, who worked with Lovaas. "At first he could only convince people to let him work with the worst of the worst, the people in locked wards, who were violent towards others and themselves."
"This is how we all shape our behavior, to one degree or another. More importantly, this is what works," he says. "We've been overcoming resistance in the scientific community, but we're still facing another obstacle: that's getting insurance companies to cover it."
Some people are initially put off by the dog training aspect of the therapy, but Clickkeyword[Eric+Larsson]" >Eric Larsson, who runs the Midwest branch of the Clickkeyword[Lovaas+Institute]" >Lovaas Institute, one of the major Minneapolis providers of behavioral therapy, says there's nothing disturbing about it.
Lovaas's work rocked the scientific establishment, suggesting that autism, far from being an irreversible condition, could be cured if caught early and treated aggressively enough.
But Hickey's argument was undermined Fendi Monster Eyes Peekaboo Bag Price when supporters of the bill pointed out that one major Minnesota insurer already covers IEIBT: Clickkeyword[Blue+Cross+and+Blue+Shield+Association]" >Blue Cross Blue Shield. The company is still in business, offering rates competitive with those that don't cover IEIBT.
as they do for physical ailments.
Lovaas continued to refine this autism treatment until his death last year.
More and more states are recognizing this and requiring insurance providers to cover IEIBT the same way they're required to cover other medically necessary treatments. Minnesota has laws on the books that autism advocates say should require IEIBT coverage, but so far private insurers have successfully argued otherwise. After a bill to make the requirement more explicit was killed in conference committee last year, advocates aren't optimistic about a legislative solution.
Using a combination of positive reinforcement, like praise and treats, and negative reinforcement, which in those draconian days included hitting, shouting, and electrical shocks, Lovaas was able to make progress with many of his patients.
MUCH OF WHAT today is categorized as IEIBT has its roots in the work of Clickkeyword[Ivar+Lovaas]" >Ivar Lovaas, a Norwegian doctor who began working with autistic patients in the 1960s. Back then, autism was thought to be an untreatable condition, and most patients were confined in prison like sanitariums. Skinner, the Fendi Crayons Clutch
"IEIBT would be the single most expensive mandate ever," says Clickkeyword[Mike+Hickey]" >Mike Hickey, a lobbyist for the National Federation of Independent Businesses. "Everyone wants to help families of kids with autism, but this would drive costs to the point that a lot of companies would just stop providing group coverage altogether."
But the bill met stiff resistance from the Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses, whose lobbyists argued that forcing coverage would lead to unacceptably high insurance costs.
AS THE MEDICAL science of mental health has advanced, the law has struggled to keep pace. It was only two years ago that Congress passed the Wellstone Domenici Parity Act, which requires insurance Fendi Peekaboo Medium
Not everyone was impressed with Lovaas's work. The psychological establishment remained deeply skeptical of Skinner's behaviorism and everything that came out of it. Some worried that Lovaas was doing nothing more than creating little robots.
Clickkeyword[Harvard+University]" >Harvard psychologist who popularized the idea that behavior is shaped by conditioning. People and animals will repeat behavior that is rewarded with some kind of positive feedback, Skinner argued, and will stop doing things that result in negative feedback like physical pain.
Intensive Early Intervention Behavioral Therapy could cure autism
But as more studies have piled up suggesting that Lovaas was on to something, the treatment has gained acceptance by the mainstream.
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In 1987, he published the first in a series of studies that found that when young autistic children received several years of intensive behavioral therapy, nearly 50 percent of them achieved "best outcomes": reaching a normal IQ, losing their anti social behaviors, and gaining the skills necessary to go to school like any other child. These kids no longer met the diagnosis for autism. They were, effectively, cured.
As time went on, he determined that not only was the negative reinforcement disturbing to people with less scientific sensibilities, it was also ineffective as a treatment.
"I thought, 'Minnesota is supposed to be such a forward looking state that takes care of its own, this is something we ought to have,'" Norton recalls.
Other studies show that the cost of not offering the therapy is even more expensive. When you factor in the cost of 18 years of special education and a lifetime of care giving, the heavy investment in a few years of IEIBT looks like a relative bargain.
"That's why the lawsuits are going to be important," says Clickkeyword[Amy+Dawson]" >Amy Dawson, who runs the Austim Advocacy and Law Center in Clickkeyword[Edina]" >Edina and is representing another mother suing over denied IEIBT therapy. "At this point, I think that's where this is going to have to happen."
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