Our Commitment to Providing Access to ABA Therapy
Sharon Flanagan-Hyde recently wrote Forget They Were Ever Born: A Memoir. When her sister, Mary Jean, was diagnosed with severe mental retardation in 1962, “doctors said to put defective children in an institution and forget they were ever born.” Mary Jean’s story is deeply troubling, yet hopeful.
Our society’s approach to mental health and developmental disabilities has come a long way in the last 60 years. Children diagnosed with autism today have access to far more resources, treatment and support than they did just a few years ago. Why? Because of the intersection of evidence-based treatment, relentless advocacy to pay for it, and increased autism awareness. It’s been a difficult – but groundbreaking – journey.
Many people have worked hard for many decades so ABA treatment would be termed “medical necessity” … the same as cancer-treatments, insulin, or any other physical-health treatment. We honor their work. We honor our obligation to reinforce that work. That is our commitment.
Our founding conviction at Ascend is to be a model for providers who strive for the highest quality treatment, who view families as Partners and who understand the importance of community. To paraphrase Isaac Newton: we want to be the shoulders upon which future generations of ABA providers and families can stand. That is our commitment.
Children with autism need routine, stability and consistency in the best of times. What about in times of crisis? Supporting them is more important now than ever. That is our commitment.
Crises are clarifying. They help us see the important vs. the unimportant, our similarities vs. our differences. Our treatment is classified as an “Essential Service” that must continue, even as day-to-day life grinds to a halt. The Department of Homeland Security, the States of Colorado and Arizona, Harris & Brazos County, TX, and many more have reaffirmed our “Essential Services.” They have joined in our commitment.
What does that mean? It means you are an “Essential Worker.” More importantly, you are our “ Essential Partner .” We are moved to tears by your commitment to your clients. We are humbled by your resilience and compassion in the face of uncertainty. We understand the weight of what we ask of you: to provide treatment during this crisis. We will do everything necessary to protect you and our clients. That is our commitment.
Mary Jean’s story was written to ensure compassionate care for all vulnerable people. She emerged from crisis to find a safe home and live a fulfilling life. It took Super Hero-worthy efforts. It took a village. That was her sister’s commitment.
We will emerge from this crisis. It will not be easy. It will not be short. But our families look to you as their hope. They look to you as their Super Heroes. You are their village. And we will be a stronger Ascend community because of it. We invite you to join us in our commitment.
Jonathan and Will