Thursday, September 27, 2012

Summary of Benefits in Black & White

We knew it was coming and now it's here.  Yesterday I received my estimated Medical Assistance co-payment for my son and it was shocking.  There it was in black & white.  There was talk about what the co-pays would be for and how the cost would be figured out.  I didn't pay much attention because why get worked up for something people were only guessing about...right? 

We are very thankful for Medical Assistance and all the additional cost it absorbs.  Our son needs therapy.  Autism is expensive.  It can be mentally draining, physically exhausting and oh, did I say mentally draining?  There are only so many grants around that pay for items you may need for your child whether it goes towards therapies, devices, or equipment.  We pay so much already for our primary insurance that it was hard to actually read yesterday, when I saw in black & white, that the estimated monthly amount for us to pay out would be about $1,000.  Granted this is an estimate but who the heck has an additional $1,000 to spend?  Looking at it deeper our income was listed incorrectly so we will be appealing due to that alone but another thing that got my attention is that it clearly states it doesn't take any expenses into consideration.  Let me say that again....IT DOESN'T TAKE ANY EXPENSES INTO CONSIDERATION.  So, let's forget about the mortgage? car payments? utilities? food? activities?

Everyone has expenses including you, State of Pennsylvania.  Let's look at it from another view here.  You will be billing the parents of a special needs child for co-pays.  Did you take under consideration that their household is under financial stress already?  Many in-tact families are down to one income because of high unemployment rates.  Or how about down to one income because their special needs child needs so much additional support that one parent must stay home.  How about the single parent trying to make it?  You may say let the families and friends help out.  What if family was out of town.  Autism secludes you.  I know many families who are alone not because they want to be but how difficult their lives have become.  How do you meet people?

Did you know, State of Pennsylvania, that the divorce rates for special needs families are at 80% due to the extreme stress factors?  This would add more financial stress to that...don't you think?

Also, in order to pay for the co-pays families may cut back services or take desperate measures and pull out of all services for their children all together to get rid of any type of additional monthly payment.  Who does that hurt---the children.  It is critical to help these children when they are younger because guess what....they grow up to be adults.  Look down the line.  Will you be taking care of these adults when they need help?  Oh, by the way, will my social security even be there when I reach of age?  Probably not.  Have to save for our own retirement don't we?

I'll do what I can for my child.  We take full responsibility for him and that will never change.  He has made tremendous progress through all the therapies he has been in over the years.  He still needs to go to therapies in order to thrive.  We moved school districts to try to get him a better education in an autism-friendly school.  We don't sit back...we never have.  We will be filling out the Fair Hearing form and will be waiting for your call. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

How to Make a Halloween Wreath-With Kids

One of my son's biggest motivators are the holidays.  Most holidays but especially Halloween.  I think it's because it kicks off a bunch of the biggies for us.  This weekend he finally asked to go to the pumpkin patch.  Every year, each weekend in October we visit one...or two depending on the weather.  Since it is only September I wanted to hold him off a bit.  He asked to go to the movies but the Halloween ones aren't playing yet so we went on a quest.  A quest to find and look and play with every single Halloween decoration on the face of the earth!!  He loved it. 

Decorating for holidays is extremely fun for him.  Like I said, HUGE motivator.  After we went to the sixth place to look and play with the decorations, we went to Michael's.  Not knowing what we'd make we settled on making wreaths for the front doors.  Easy and fun to do!  Here's what we bought.

An 18" wreath frame.
9' of Halloween garland.  He picked out the pumpkins but they had bats, ghosts, skeletons.
Pipe cleaners.
Anything extra to make it 'scary'.  He chose spiders, skeletons and glow-in-the-dark mice.

Attach the 9' garland to the wreath.  It wrapped around 2x.

Attach the 'extras' for the scary effect. Place on the door!!

Attach with pipe cleaners or
 wire underneath frame.

Hooked right onto the doors
because of the wire frame.

This was so easy and the kids had lots of fun helping.  So much fun in fact that he took extra pipe cleaners and made a Dracula tree all by himself.  Love my boy!! 

His very own Dracula Tree.