Monday, January 30, 2017

President Trump Seems To Be Attempting To Keep His Campaign Promises, No Matter the Cost...


In the beginning of January 2016, during the Presidential primary, Trump’s Presidential campaign released their first T.V. ad in hopes of gaining supporters. This commercial came amid a campaign that some would claim stunk of hate and Alt Right rhetoric. In said ad you hear the narrator saying, “The politicians can pretend it’s something else, but Donald Trump calls it radical Islamic terrorism” as pictures of Hilary Clinton and President Obama strolled across the screen. It then preaches of Trump’s proposal to “ban Muslims,” much as he is saying now. It goes further to state that he is going to keep Muslims from entering the U.S.A. until “we can figure out what’s going on.” The commercial finishes up by telling the American people that Mr. Trump “will quickly cut the head off of ISIS and take their oil” if elected President.

Fast forward to today, January 30, 2017- it appears President Trump is keeping at least part of that promise. He signed an executive order banning people from Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Libya and Yemen from entering our country over the weekend in an effort to combat terrorism. There is also a lot of talk going on that there may be a "Muslim registry" implemented. That has not been officially confirmed as of now though. There's a lot of fear talking right now. We'll have to wait to see what actions Trump and his cabinet take in the next few months.

A few important facts about the newly issued orders from President Trump: around 0.01% of terrorist caught have actually came from those countries. The terrorist from 9/11 were 19 men, 15 of those men came from Saudi Arabia (which you will notice is missing from the ban list), 2 came from the United Arab Emirates (which is located in the middle of Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Oman on the Gulf Coast), and one came from Egypt. 


Picture courtesy of Slate.com
I was exceptionally shocked that Saudi Arabia and Egypt were not on the ban list given the percentage of terrorism that can be directly linked back to those regions, despite their governing bodies claiming to help fight terrorism. It was even reported that after 9/11 Saudi Arabia's aid to America was lacking sincere effort, even refusing to allow America to use it's bases to fight Osama Bin Laden's soldiers in Afghanistan. I guess if you compare the map of banned countries to the list of countries that Trump has business ties you start to wonder if you're seeing the reasons for the lack of mention of the two countries.

Now, what you believe from there depends on which side of the political line you straddle.

President Trump reports that this is NOT a Muslim ban. While being interviewed this weekend about the detainments and deportations he said this, “It’s not a Muslim ban, but we were totally prepared. You see it at the airports, you see it all over. It’s working out very nicely, and we’re going to have a very, very strict ban, and we’re going to have extreme vetting, which we should have had in this country for many years.” Supporters are hailing this move as necessary steps being taken by a “natural leader” who is a “work-a-holic” and is “just getting started.” The White House seems to be happy with the ban and the consequences of said ban on world travel and possibly even on world terrorism. Trump's favorite lady, Kellyanne, even came out to Fox News in response to the ban telling Americans that, "This whole idea that they're being separated and ripped from their family... it's temporary." Families are also reporting that they were told the same thing by border agents. I guess that is supposed to make it better.

As with any political battle, his supporters and non-supporters alike have taken to social media to vent their feelings about the most recent actions of our Government. In response to Trump’s criticism a lot of his supporters are citing actions Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter took during their terms as President in regards to immigrant bans. They are using these examples as direct means to prove Liberals wrong. Why you ask? I seems this has become a Kindergarten shouting match between two sides of extremist that both should be listening to the people that are hanging out in the middle, worried and shaking their heads.

If you don’t know what they are talking about, here’s a quick bit of information to catch you up.

According to Politifact.com in late 1979 an injustice was committed against America. 60 of our American embassy personnel members in Tehran were held captive. The culprits-Iranian militants. The hostage crisis lasted for a reported 444 days. The actions that conservatives of today are speaking of are the actions that President Carter took in response to that situation. You see, in a bid to get the Iranians to end the hostage situation Carter put forth a ban that kept Iranians from entering the United States unless they opposed the Iranian Regime or had a medical emergency. As part of this ban all Iranian students in America had to report to their local immigration offices. This was done to determine if any had violated the terms of their visa, if so they were deported. President Carter also halted the issuing of new visas to Iranians. In 1980, the Times reported that almost 60,000 students had registered with immigration, less than 500 had been deported. By the end, nearly 5,000 Iranians had left voluntarily, as a result of Carter’s actions. Can’t see the difference in what Trump has done and what Carter did? Just ask Kermit Roosevelt, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He is quoted on Politifact.com as saying, “The difference [between Trump’s actions and Carter’s actions] is that Iranians were citizens of, and owed allegiance to, a country that was acting against the United States. The class of ‘all Muslims’ has no similar connection to ISIS or terrorists. That makes the analogy seriously flawed."

When it comes to the Conservative claims against President Obama, they are referring to an executive order from 2011. In that 2011 order, The Daily Caller reports, Obama specifically called for a ban that covered "anyone under a UN travel ban; anyone who violates any of 29 executive orders regarding transactions with terrorists, those who undermine the democratic process in specific countries, or transnational criminal organizations." Again, this is different than banning a whole religion to improve vetting processes. Obama’s executive order covered Iran, Syria, and Crimea. Of the three, Iran and Syria are predominately Muslim countries. This also making the circumstances different, his actions were NOT against a single religion.

Now, back to the current situation at hand…

If you believe what the people are saying about the aftermath of Trump’s ban, then you have a different viewpoint of what is going on altogether. There are countless videos and reports coming from social media and various outlets stating that in airports all over the United States you see a very altered picture of reality then what President Trump is depicting. Inside the airports were reported as being chaotic. Lawyers started showing up Saturday night to help the refugees that were being refused entry. Some of the people being detained were found to, reportedly, have Green Cards and were still stopped. People from the 7 key Muslim countries were stopped, their phone contacts and social media accounts reportedly searched, and them asked how they felt about President Trump. Children and Grandparents detained. It didn’t just happen in the U.S. either, airports all over the world are having to turn away people flying to the U.S. that are from those countries. Many of whom recently had visas approved and were headed here. They were already vetted, yet they were detained, questioned, and refused entry.

Protests at JFK Airport. Picture Courtesy of NyDailynews.com
When you turn your attention to what is going on outside airport security then you get a real glimpse of what America is supposed to be about. You see Americans standing up for what America is supposed to stand for. You see humans out in masses, protesting what is being called the actions of a "want to be dictator." You see airports full of men, women, and children holding signs welcoming the refugees that are being detained inside, signs opposing Trump’s ban. Over 5,000 showed up at JFK alone. The Taxi services to JFK Airport protested as well, refusing to transport passengers as they arrived.


NY Taxi Workers Alliance's official statement about the ban
Behind closed doors even more was happening though. The American Civil Liberties Union in Brooklyn, NY petitioned Federal Judge Ann Donnelly to grant a request issued by them Saturday evening to stay deportations of valid visa holders after they have landed at a U.S. airport. Judge Ann Donnelly granted the stay, effectively stopping Homeland Security from deporting anymore visa holders as the got off flights. Virginia, Washington, and Massachusetts following suit, ordering stays. A small victory for the masses, a victory none the less. Crowds cheered as they were given the news. Shortly after, however, Homeland Security issued their own statement. It reads, “The President's Executive Orders remain in place—prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety. The president's Executive Order affects a minor portion of international travelers, and is a first step towards reestablishing control over America's borders and national security."

Despite the Federal Judge’s ruling many reports are stating that border control officers are ignoring the court. They are sticking with what Homeland Security and President Trump ordered them to do. This includes, reportedly, coercing non-English speaking passengers into taking volunteer deportations and, in some cases, refusing civil rights lawyers access to immigrants being detained. The actions of the rogue Border Agents sent civil rights workers into overtime. In one case an Iranian Fulbright scholar was forced on to an AirUkraine flight at JFK-hours after agents had received the court order to stop. Reports are saying that in this instance that, “She was on the phone with us [her lawyers] and stood up [to exit] and asked to get off the flight; the crew just ignored her.” As a result of being ignored civil rights attorneys made frantic calls to higher-level officials-the plane was eventually turned around on the tarmac and the woman returned to detention, instead of being deported. Another media site reporting that a Mother refugee and her children were detained for over 20 hours without being offered food or water. Yet another story coming out reporting that a 5 year old boy was detained and kept from his mother, alone, for 5 hours.


Protests at Seatac Airport in Seatac, Washington. Picture Courtesy of q13fox.com
These court rulings were just victories for people that reached the U.S. shores though. Many others are being detained in other countries, awaiting the (supposed) 90 day ban to end so that they can come to America per their visas, or in some circumstances return to America- WHERE THEY LEGALLY LIVE. Many residents were overseas visiting family or attending funerals and were reportedly stopped trying to return home. Olympian Mo Farah was detained trying to return to Portland, where he lives. He wrote, “On 1st January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm. On 27th January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien. I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years-working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home. Now, me and many others like me are being told that we may not be welcome.”

Protesters in Boston. Picture Courtesy of chinanewsasia.com
As of today, January 30, 2017, our government has came out and essentially admitted that it made a mistake. Things weren't clear enough, it seems, and Visa holders should not have been detained. This has done nothing to silence the masses that are protesting at airports all over the United States of America over the ban being enacted to begin with. His response to the situation on twitter has some fuming even more. President Trump tweeted out today that, "Only 109 people out of 325,000 were detained and held for questioning. Big problems at airports were caused by Delta computer outage..." A claim that many believe to be fabricated.

Regardless of what you believe, as of right now, it seems this is just the beginning. Like him or not, Trump made many promises on the campaign trail that he seems to be determined to keep. Of course, while watching out for his own interests as well. Some of those promises that are yet to be kept are found terrifying by many, to say the least. For a look into 76 campaign promises he made check out this link. I hope that our President and his cabinet members wake up to the voices of the people soon and finds a way to balance our countries highest beliefs and morals with his current plan of action. I hope he is able to accomplish this peacefully and without stripping rights and liberties away from humans. America is a Melting Pot. We are a country made up of immigrants and refugees. Our Statue of Liberty says it all: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free!"


 Want to read more from Brooke?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Political Labels and The Recent Marches in America

I have never defined myself by political affiliation. I have voted all over the ballot based on the issues I believe in my whole adult life. No matter what my views happened to be I have never been verbally assaulted by my friends and family because of said views, until now. Suddenly I am a “Liberal” and a “Left Side Enthusiast,” a “Feminist” and a “NASTY WOMAN.” Now, facing my mid-thirties I suddenly have labels. Suddenly all of my morals and beliefs cause me to be filed into this small labeled box based on who others think I am. I have never seen myself as one that can be labeled. I am not Liberal nor am I Democrat. I am not Republican nor am a Conservative… I am HUMAN. I stand for Human Rights, no matter where those rights lay their roots. I was unaware that human rights could become so blurred based on party lines. Given this realization, if I must take on labels to be a decent human being then so be it. I guess I am a Liberal, Democrat, Feminist, Nasty Woman who happens to advocate for the rights of pretty much everyone.

With that said, never have I witnessed an election polarize so many families, so many friends. I've never, since my birth, seen the rights of the people stomped on with such indifference. You can say America isn’t divided all you want. This is just the belief of a few. It seems to me that we are being fed “alternative facts” by the spoon full and expected to swallow it like its nourishment being provided for our bodies and minds. I didn’t realize being able to observe the obvious made someone Democrat or Liberal. I always thought it made them perceptive. From where I sit, it seems like we are more divided than ever. The far left and the far right acting like toddlers throwing fits. No wonder people are compelled to rise and resist.

In case you somehow have blinders on and have missed it. On Friday January 20th thousands of humans revolted in violent riots against the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States of America. The widespread damage and chaos of these riots were overwhelming and produced no positive results.

Inauguration riots 2017
Saturday January 21st millions of human beings, worldwide, peacefully marched in cities all over the globe in unity of different human rights. Again, last night, January 24th, 2017 people marched in cities across the U.S. in opposition of the pipelines that President Trump is pushing through. They marched in recognition of the treaties that the Federal Government is ignoring and in the memory of the lost loved ones of our Native American brothers and sisters whose final resting places are being threatened in the name of greed. More marches are being planned for various reasons. I’ve, personally, never seen a movement like this.

A pipeline protester. Picture Courtesy of tigrignamovies.com

I’ve never seen so many of my fellow humans so frightened of one person since… probably Hitler. America has always stood by our peoples’ basic rights. The right to assemble, to protest, is one of those rights and I will always advocate for it. I will never advocate for the right to riot, this is not a basic right- it’s a crime. Despite the difference in the two, it seems that the Government may now wish to target our right to assemble, as well as other basic rights. The combination of the given actions of the Trump regime in his first week is making some people around the world nervous.

Sign seen at the Women's March

The March on January 21st, 2017, was lovingly dubbed “The Women’s March.” It was, arguably to some, the single largest civil rights protest in human history and serves as an excellent example of the nervousness of the masses. Though it was called the “Women’s March,” it was about so much more than just women. Everyone marched for their own beliefs and for everyone’s beliefs. On that date, women, children and men of all backgrounds, ages and ethnicity marched across the globe in recognition that the direction the American Government is headed has the potential of being dangerous. They marched because basic rights are being infringed upon and threatened. They marched because after all these years we needed to show that we, the American people-and people of the world, will not be silenced when it comes to the basic rights of others.

The people marched on the 21st and the 24th because our planet is being threatened- All mention of Climate Change was erased from the White House website shortly after President Trump’s inauguration; shortly thereafter the American peoples’ basic rights to be informed of what is going on with our environment was taken from us. Our National Parks and USDA silenced. Communication with the American public cutoff. Our EPA only allowed to resume communications after the black out order if they agreed to erase mentions of climate change from their website. During this march, many people of the world stood together and screamed that OUR WORLD matters. That climate change is real. They screamed that we want to have a planet to leave to our grandchildren. I have seen talk and criticism of how some of the protesters acted in regards to their trash. Given that some were marching for that reason and some were not- it doesn’t surprise me that there are human beings that are ignorant to littering and its effect on our environment or that some of them would be present during marches the size they were that day. We are talking millions of people marching for various reasons. Luckily, museums are collecting the protest signs to keep.

A toddler with a self made protest sign at one of the many Women's Marches across the globe

In America people are resisting in the name of our various beliefs. The right to birth control, and (even though I am not in support of it) the right of a woman to obtain an abortion. President Trump and VP Pence have made clear their stand points on abortion, cutting international funding to any facility providing or educating about abortion. Also, advocating and pushing for the all-out outlaw of abortion in these United States and the defunding of Planned Parenthood. As a teenager, PP provided me with the birth control that kept me from becoming an unwed teenage mother with few options. We, as a people, are outraged at Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education. As many have said, our children deserve a Secretary of Education that actually cares about education. We also deserve one that has had experience in education; a nominee that knows the simplest facts about Federal Civil Rights laws like IDEA, that knows the difference between “growth” and “proficiency.” Her confirmation will threaten the basic rights of our countries most vulnerable-our disabled children.

The people marched because healthcare for low income families, the disabled, and the elderly is being threatened. The Republicans "solutions" aren't realistic solutions to many American families. We are being thrown to the wolves by the top 1%. All HUMANS deserve healthcare, period. 

(Blog continues after Healthcare picture below)

Some Healthcare facts for you from http://healthresearchfunding.org/universal-healthcare-pros-cons/


Per New YorkStates Department of Health these countries have universal healthcare, yet we in the U.S. do not:

Copied from the New York State Health Department

 I have seen posts on Social Media about the consequences of the actions of these nations after providing universal healthcare. The majority being the most concerned with where the money to pay for said healthcare comes from. Taxpayers, it would come from mostly taxpayers. You know what, I am fine with paying a little more tax if it means ANOTHER HUMAN BEING doesn’t die from a preventable disease.

Why you ask- because at some point we must stop seeing everything through red and blue tinted glasses and start seeing life from the viewpoint of others. I was taught as a little girl to LOVE OTHER PEOPLE. What has happened to that?

The people of America are rising-up because all we have done for domestic violence is at risk. Crisis Centers are at risk. At age 15 I watched my mother thrust into a life of abuse. I watched her thrive from the help she received from the local Women’s Shelter. These places are important. No woman or man deserves to be in a situation where their lives are at risk at the hands of another. No child deserves to set under a table and scream as one parent assaults the other in front of them. This happens daily in America, all over the world. Without the guidance of Women’s shelters and Family shelters a lot of these individuals have no clue how to live a life without abuse. Why would any person be OK with cutting programs like this? It seems, according to USUncut.com, President Trump plans to cut 15 major Government offices. One of those being the Office of Violence Against Women. This particular department makes up around $480 million per year. That breaks down to $3.50 per taxpayer. I don't know about anybody else but it also makes me nervous that talks of cutting this office are happening at the same time that Russia is voting to decriminalize some forms of Domestic Violence.

I was told by friends before the election that Donald Trump was for LGBT rights, despite what I was hearing online and in the media. They were all saying that there was nothing to worry about. I really tried to believe them. That was until all mention of LGBT rights were erased from the White House Website. Just poof, gone and no replacement is put up. It creates an uneasy feeling when a party is notorious for infringing on the rights of minorities and then things like this happen. As a result, people assembled and marched in the name of LGBT rights. I hope that they are creating a phenomenal page in support of LGBT rights and have yet to launch it, somehow I won't hold my breath. Under the Obama administration we saw great strides in the rights of the LGBT community, including but not limited to the legalization of Gay marriage. Under Trump's administration, who knows what will happen. I may just be crazy but I don't see how judging who and how someone loves is a political issue to begin with. Love is love to me. I watch some people preach about being nonjudgmental Christians then stand together in the same breath and judge others based on who they love because of their own personal religious beliefs. I am scared for my friends who are in the LGBT community. I'm scared of what will come of President Trump's Supreme Court appointment this week. I am hopeful that he won't turn the clock back decades on the rights of many people I know and love, and many strangers I aspire to meet.

Also, yes, as the name of the march suggests, people are resisting because to them it feels like women’s rights are being threatened. It is easy to see why. We elected and inaugurated a President with dozens of sexual harassment cases in his past (whether founded or unfounded, they exist) and an ex-wife that tells of his notorious womanizing. A man that, on tape, talked about grabbing women by “their pussies” shortly after marrying his beautiful wife. A human being that sat and talked about how money and power make it OK to do those things to another human being. I will never understand how any person, any woman, could hear his words on that tape and be ignorant to the damage caused by them. The most powerful man in the world- talking about the gender that births your generations like we are meat. Like we are beneath men. Like we are toys. It’s disgusting. It doesn’t matter what we wear, say, or do for a living- our basic rights and our intimate areas are not up for grabs! That should go without saying. I don't care if he was planning to run for office when he said it or not, the point is that he did in fact say it. It is indicative of the type of man he is. We are living in a day and time where women go to college and still receive less pay than their male counterparts. (I was going to link the White House page on gender inequality to this section; however, when I visited the site it too had been taken down as of 1/25/17) This part of the movement isn't about whether men are afforded clean air and water while women receive dirty air and water, as was so ignorantly stated to me earlier- it's about the fact that after all these years there are still women who are oppressed, in our country and in others.

Woman marching at the Women's March. January 21st, 2017
America was born of resistance. A resistance full of immigrants. My family immigrated 100’s of years ago, from mostly Ireland. We all come from backgrounds like this. Yes, we have an illegal immigration problem in this country. I have seen it with my own eyes. I also have a brain and it tells me that a wall isn’t going to solve this problem. Some of his other ideas may help, like stopping the “catch and release” tactics used by border control where we expect the immigrant will appear in court later. Building a wall though! A majority of undocumented immigrants overstay their visa. I do not see how a wall of any size will possibly combat that problem. Walls are born from hate and cost money we obviously do not have. Don’t tell me Mexico will pay us back for it without a solid plan as to how he plans to accomplish that either. Now his call for better vetting procedures I am all for! I am hopeful of what his ideas for how to revamp our vetting process will be. I am also somewhat hesitant to hear them, It seems as though they will include a ban on travel to the U.S. from muslim countries. We have yet to see for sure though. To tell you the truth though, it really gets to me that we are even discussing building a wall when there are American's without health insurance, veterans being provided sub-par healthcare after sacrificing for our country, and middle and lower class families that work their butts off and still can't afford their premiums and co-payments. 

Woman at Women's March. January 21, 2017

It has become increasingly obvious that a large part of the world has a message for anyone that will listen. It is being screamed from every corner that women have rights, minorities have rights, immigrants have rights, Democrats have rights, Republicans have rights, HUMANS have rights. Those are beliefs I can stand by. I believe in the rights of humans, whether those other humans are “Liberals,” “Red Blooded Conservatives,” or otherwise. Despite our viewpoints on the issues we are still human beings. If all of that makes me a Democrat or a Liberal, a Feminist or a Nasty Woman- then so be it. Bring on your labels. I'll wear them proudly.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

One Step Forward and Two Steps Back When It Comes To Medical Care For Special Needs Children in the United States

I like to pretend like I have it all together but the last year of my life has been a confusing one. Confusing for my whole family. It was a year full of changes, mostly uninvited ones. My family has spent the last several years living outside our home state of Indiana. Moving was a huge adjustment for all us- particularly my oldest son. As most of you know, he has Autism. Thus, change is hard on him. I spent the first few years we were there fighting for proper education and doctors for him. Right when he started to get used to us living away from family and seeing new doctors we were blindsided with the prospect of moving, again. Like millions of people across the United States experienced before us- my children's father was unexpectedly laid off from his job. We had no probable plan that would allow us to stay in that area; given that, we decided to move back home.

Zain, Dryden, and Me


I didn’t take the decision lightly. None of us did. I thought out (what I thought was) every possibility. Unfortunately, I didn't anticipate the difference in permitted medical care between states. Before the layoff, we had been living right outside of Seattle, WA. In the time we were there I'd established exceptional medical care for Zain, Dryden (my youngest), and myself. Zain was lucky enough to be seen by a psych at Seattle Children's Autism Clinic on a regular basis. The man he saw consistently did everything he could to help us, regardless of cost. The hospital even went as far as to genetically test Zain and us at no cost. They used the findings in their research therefore we still got the results and they were able to do it for free. That place is amazing!

While we were there Zain's doctor was Dr. Hower Kwon. He got him onto the greatest medication cocktail we have ever used. It took us years to find the right mixture of medications. I have, in the past, tried numerous medications and cocktails for Zain to no avail. Zain struggles with several severe disorders. He battles Severe Insomnia, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, OCD, Anxiety, Speech Apraxia, a TIC disorder, and of course Autism. I was desperately trying to find him relief from the symptoms he’s dealt with most of his life. He is particularly plagued with the severe meltdowns and insomnia. Seattle Children's was able to get his meltdowns down to a minimum and at the same time treat his other disorders alongside his insomnia with very few medications. It was astonishing.

Seattle Children's Hospital Autism Center


The catch was that the antipsychotic we were utilizing in the cocktail wasn’t approved for the use in children or for the use in the treatment of Autism. The name of the medicine was Geodon. Geodon is, “used to treat acute manic or mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder and to treat symptoms of schizophrenia,” as described by their website. This medication may not be approved for what we were using it for, but I assure you that many parent’s and Autistic adults use it every day for the same thing we were. You must understand that many of the medications that we parents’ use to treat Autism fall into the same category of “not approved.” Not to mention we had tried the ones that are approved, plus some others that aren’t and none of them had worked. All of them were well researched before started.

Picture Courtesy of disabled-world.com


While in Washington I had zero problem getting Geodon filled for Zain. The insurance companies there understood that he needed it to function smoothly. They didn’t even mind that he took it in two different dosages, twice a day. At 60 mgs in the morning and 40 mgs at night, making the prescription even more expensive for them to fill. The medication made a world of difference in Zain’s life from about 3 weeks into starting it. It was remarkable how different he was while on it. Before we started that med, he was taking a very large dose of Seroquel and was still experiencing very little relief in the symptoms he feels. He would have these horrid meltdowns where I was often hurt. He also jumbled his words together quite regularly and had a hard time communicating his needs to us. There were many times he experienced hallucinations throughout his life as well. The Seroquel didn’t help at all with any of this. Geodon did, it helped with all of that plus continued helping with the things the Seroquel did positively effect. When we decided to move back I never in a million years thought the insurance company in Indiana would look at my child's medications and refuse to give him any single one of them. The concept of denying a child medications that work never crossed my mind.

At the time, he had been on Geodon for 3 years. Once we settled in Indiana the insurance company here pulled Geodon from him without providing a way to taper him off it. That’s dangerous; of course, they didn’t care. They also denied our doctor’s appeal. I knew they would and even our family doctor’s office warned me that they probably would deny it. I, none the less, had hopes that they wouldn’t seeing as though the appeal was so well written and provided so much detail. We even included his records from Seattle documenting the improvement once he started the med in the appeal. None of it mattered though. Less than a week later they severed our last hopes of being able to continue with the care we had been using for years. I was devastated when they reached their decision. It shouldn't have surprised me though. After all, most insurance companies in the U.S. still claim ABA Therapy is "unproven" even after countless studies proving the contrary. They just don't want to spend the near $60,000-$100,000 a year it costs to pay for it, per child. Without insurance, there is no hope a family can afford that. Without insurance help there was no way I could afford Zain's medication either. The prescriptions would cost over $1,000 a month without insurance. I didn’t know what to do. The insurance company was nice enough to send me a letter listing what medications they would allow his doctor to prescribe though! Only a few we hadn’t tried.

Seeing as though so much of the decision falls onto the insurance companies lap, sometimes I don’t understand why we bother seeing doctors or specialists to begin with. Maybe we should cut out the middle man and let the insurance company “professionals” treat us instead. The way it stands, they have final say anyway. Of course, I am being sarcastic. The point still stands though. The system has it all wrong. They are hurting the American people every single day with this nonsense. You find people all over the United States that have been living with these hideous disorders and diseases with no hope of affording the medication they have been prescribed and no help from their insurance companies because they don’t recognize the need for it. They come to these decisions despite a doctor seeing a need and prescribing it. In my family’s case, the insurance company decided what medications an Autistic teenager could have without ever seeing him. They decided that they ultimately know more about Autism than Seattle Children’s Autism Clinic does. A clinic that is in the forefront of care and research in the Autism field. They know more than them!

Their decision that day changed everything in my son’s life. His whole world got thrown into turmoil. He went from stable to confused and angry at a very rapid rate. There wasn’t a single person from the insurance company that had to see or help deal with any of what they created either. That was left to me, his teachers, and the doctors that originally tried to help us. It took me 4 months to get Zain into a new specialist to get care. That is four months a 13-year-old suffered through anxiety attacks, meltdowns, jumbled words and thoughts, no sleep, increased trouble with social interactions, little ability to maintain any length of eye contact, and an intolerance for any change. In addition to helping Zain work through all of that I also had other things to worry about. One, my personal life and marriage were taking huge hits. Two, new doctors are stressful. There’s so much to remember and explain to them. Plus, it takes a while for us all to build a relationship and for the therapist to learn Zain's behaviors. Sometimes you also find that the professional isn’t too professional once you meet them as well. A lot of time, us parents seem to know more about Autism then the doctors being paid to treat them do. I was terrified I was about to walk into a situation like that. To top it all off, we had to travel several hours to reach the new therapist because there were none in our area that accepted his insurance and saw Autistic children. That isn’t a onetime trip either, Zain and I will be making that trip every couple of months for a very long time.

Picture Courtesy of Ianproject.org


We’ve had one appointment with the therapist, so far. The facility is called Harsha Behavioral Center. He has another appointment in a few months. Fortunately, the new therapist seems to know what she’s talking about, which is a relief. I never put too much into the initial appointment though! In addition to seemingly knowing her stuff, she seems to care about Zain. She also seems to have a background in Autism. Which is, of course, very important. At the first appointment, we went over medical and family background, as usual. We also talked about his challenges at home and at school. She spoke to me about what her future plans are for him as well. She then ordered blood work and prescribed a new anti-psychotic to try until we see her again. The medication is called Saphris. It’s still new to us so I really don’t have an opinion about it, yet. Somehow, I doubt it will work as well as the Geodon did but I am willing to give it a try-not that we have much of a choice. The potential side effects are right along the same as any other anti-psychotic out there. As much of a relief as that is I still feel as though he should’ve been allowed to continue the same medication cocktail that he was on before we moved.

Not a person that I’ve ran into that hears what happened with his medications believes it! We all find it to be preposterous. What's even worse is that it isn't just happening to us. All over the country doctors are frustrated, the pharmacies are irritated, and us parents are discouraged. Our children’s medical care is coming down to technicalities and money. Medical care should be the same across the nation, not vary state to state and the bottom line should never be cost when a child is concerned. Something needs to change, and soon. Getting most politicians and insurance companies to put quality healthcare for us in front of finances and the kickbacks they receive seems near impossible though. Just getting them all to sit and listen to us talk about the subject is difficult. I have found that difficult subjects are normally the most important to tackle though. Let’s hope this difficult topic is tackled on a national level soon because some of us don’t have forever to wait.

“One of the most difficult things everyone has to learn is that for your entire life you must keep fighting and adjusting if you hope to survive. No matter who you are or what your position is you must keep fighting for whatever it is you desire to achieve.”  -George Allen, Sr.


Want to read more from Brooke?