Yesterday I attended a meeting at the State Capitol in support of Senate Bill 55 which would require insurance companies to cover a certain amount of autism treatment in Utah. I went to see if this bill would pass through this first committee for consideration on the senate floor next week. Celeste, my 17 year old daughter, came as an assignment for her Government class at school. We saved a seat for my husband, Chris, who ran in the door moments before the meeting started. We all sat there together, along with maybe 100 autism families and supporters, waiting…

We listened as Senator Shiozawa, a retired medical doctor, explained the desperate need for this bill to pass. We listened to questions from senators on the panel who would be deciding our fate on this day. Then we listened as members of the community spoke for and against SB55. The very last woman got up and said  “At the risk of being called mean, this bill is not really directly about the care for autistic children,” Wayman said. “It is about the control of private-sector insurance.”

To this woman I say this: You are not mean, but you are WRONG! SB55 is not about a mandate. It is not about republicans or democrats. It is not about politics. It is about a sweet little blonde boy named Bridger. He is my son. He has autism. His smile and laugh will intoxicate you. His tantrum in the grocery store will make you roll your eyes and walk quickly the other way feeling relieved you are not me. SB55 is about a 5, almost 6, year old boy who has not yet called me “mommy” because he cannot speak, however I hope from the deepest part of my soul that someday he will. THAT is what SB55 is about.

Although, along with…um…probably everyone, I have complained about the cost of insurance, I have never said, nor will I ever say “Don’t cover children with cancer, diabetes or down syndrome because my child doesn’t have it so I don’t want to pay for it.” Those children need and deserve insurance coverage for their treatment and SO.DOES.MINE!

To the senators and house representatives who have listened, who are concerned, who believe in this cause I say this: THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I am grateful for all your efforts large and small. I have unexplainable gratitude for you and your leadership. If I have, at times, seemed disrespectful, angry or ungrateful, I am deeply sorry. That has never been my intention. That is not who I am. Please understand that it’s about passion. It’s about love. It’s about loyalty. It’s about a sweet little blonde boy with autism. I have to fight. I can’t stop until I have done all that I can for my child and you have done all that you can for my child and the rest of the 18,000 children in Utah with autism that you represent. That is when this momma bear will finally rest.

SB55 passed through the first committee and will be heard on the senate floor next week. I am thrilled, I am hopeful, and I am nervous that another year will pass without getting adequate treatment for my son…

“You, you may say , I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one, I hope some day you’ll join us, And the world will be as one“–John Lennon