“The world doesn’t operate with autistic people in mind, but even small accommodations can mean the world to autistic people,” says Kaylie Jones, mother of an amazing seven-year-old daughter with autism. Kaylie discovered Washington Autism Alliance & Advocacy (WAAA) when she was seeking assistance with health insurance coverage for her daughter, and when her daughter started first grade Kaylie accepted a position with WAAA that aligned her professional background with her passion for making the world a better place for autistic people. Now, as both a parent of a child with autism and a member of the WAAA team, Kaylie’s days are spent advocating for autistic individuals and their families, helping them to navigate special education and health insurance, two key areas of life that deeply affect families with autism.
Photos care of WAAA
WAAA’s dedicated team of attorneys hosts valuable seminars and trainings to support parents in navigating the murky and tumultuous waters surrounding special education and health insurance. “WAAA receives calls daily from families needing help getting health insurance companies to pay for medically necessary therapies,” Kaylie shares, adding that the small but mighty team at WAAA “works diligently to bridge the gap between the many health and education policies that exist to serve children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities (DD) and the educators, politicians, and medical providers who want to support these policies but don’t always succeed in doing it.” Because when it comes right down to it, intention is only a piece of the puzzle. For policies to actually make the world an easier place for people with ASD and other DDs to flourish, those policies need to be implemented effectively, in a way that increases access and opportunities and supports the continually-changing, increasingly-inclusive social landscape and allows everyone to play and be a productive, contributive, thriving member of society.
Photos care of WAAA
In addition to helping families navigate their way through the worlds of special education advocacy, health insurance access, and meaningful policy implementation, WAAA strives to impact legislation in Washington State that directly supports the health, safety, and education of children, teens, and adults with ASD -- and then monitor the implementation of that legislation to make sure it does what it is intended to do. For example, Kaylie shares, “Since 2010, WAAA has been instrumental in implementation of Mental Health Parity, ensuring individuals with ASD have access to evidence-based treatments for autism. When needed, we’ve been involved in lawsuits that have resulted in insurance and Medicaid reform for 12,000 children statewide.” Did you slow down long enough to read that number carefully? Twelve. Thousand. Children.
You can help fund WAAA’s critical work benefitting thousands of individuals with ASD when you buy PLAE shoes today and every day. Simply use code GIVE979 during checkout and just like that -- with only a nanosecond added to your online shopping experience -- WAAA will receive a donation from you in the amount of 10% of your purchase price. You can also find WAAA on Facebook.