Monday, June 04, 2007

South Carolinians Write to Governor About Ryan's Law

Dear Governor Sanford,

I am the parent of two boys, 8 and 5. While I would love to take your time to tell all about both of them, I’m compelled to tell you about my 8 year old, Wills, as he is autistic and Ryan’s Law is currently sitting on your desk awaiting your signature.

Wills was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2 ½. While both my wife and I were devasted with the diagnosis, we pursued every treatment option available. After extensive research and consultation we decided on ABA therapy. Due to the persistence and diligence of my wife, we were able to convince our insurance company to pay for this therapy, one of the very lucky few that have been able to do this. I’d like to tell you what this has enabled us and our son to do.

First, our son is a rising 3rd grader at Brennen Elementary in Richland County School District One. He was in a typical 1st and 2nd grade classroom, and will be in the AAP classes offered next year. He reads on a 6th grade level, does 6th grade level math, but most importantly, has friends. While we still struggle with emotional and social issues with Wills and continue to work with him on a daily basis, we count our blessings that he is, by all accounts, ‘normal’. All of this success was unexpected as he didn’t talk at 3 ½, was barely walking and had multiple self-stimulatory repetitive behaviors.

Second, it has allowed my wife and me to not have to mortgage our house to the hilt. We’ve been able to continue to pay property tax, shop and pay sales tax, and not have to request exorbitant state assistance to live.

Third, it has allowed the state to have what will be an extraordinary asset in Wills Bauer. He will be an incredible asset to this state once he grows up. He will not need extra help to live. He will make incredible contributions. He will earn a living and pay taxes. Were it not for the therapy he would most likely be institutionalized and be a very high economic burden to the state.

I implore you as a taxpayer to pass this bill. As you can see I have no direct interest or benefit. We’re done with the therapy, we’ve benefited from it, and now we’re on to the next stage in the development of an amazing little boy.

Thank you for your time and I hope the children and taxpayers of the state can count on you.

-Bill Bauer
Columbia, SC


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