Autism advocates rally at the W.Va. Capitol

Published: Feb. 18, 2020 at 6:23 PM EST
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Advocates with the CARES group rallied Tuesday at the West Virginia Capitol, months after a key program that supports children with autism was cut.

CARES advocates spread the word about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). After the ABA training program was cut from West Virginia University last fall, it has been nearly impossible to provide children with autism in the state with this special kind of care.

"Applied behavior analysis has a 90% effectiveness rate across the board," said Jill Scarbro- McLaury, the founder of the CARES program.

Sarah Harris, executive director of the CARES program, says ABA treatment helped her 9-year-old son Jett a great deal.

She told WSAZ that before her son started the process he was frequently being sent to the principal's office. After one incident, he was even suspended.

"Through applied behavior analysis we have been able to target the skill gaps that he has and then really work on building those skills," Harris said.

Advocates with the group say in order to get the program back it would cost about $135,000.

To make this happen they are speaking with finance chairs from both chambers.

They are also asking Gov. Jim Justice's office for help.