Autism conference to be held Saturday

Sandra Trammell remembers when her daughter Mila was diagnosed with autism at 19 months old.

"She wasn't making eye contact. She was hand flapping. She was walking on her tippy toes; definitely did not like to be held," said Trammell.

Even though she worked as a nurse, Sandra knew little about autism at the time. Finding help for her family was extremely difficult.

"There was nothing in the hospital at the time; there was nothing on the internet about autism," said Trammell.

However, Sandra soon found something called Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy, the only treatment experts say is scientifically validated to help people with autism.  Ten years later, with early intervention and ABA therapy, Mila has come a long way.

Unfortunately, many families cannot afford ABA therapy which focuses on developing language, social, motor and other skills affected by autism.  Only some insurance cover the therapy and Medicaid does not cover it at all.

A conference hosted by the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, or CARD, hopes to bring more resources to Louisiana, such as online tools.

CARD has an online tool called Skills.  It' an online, curriculum based tool that is much more affordable than traditional ABA therapy, and it's more accessible.

"It provides training as well as access to skills that you can actually teach people with autism," explained  Dr. Catherine Minch of CARD.

CARD hopes this conference held on Saturday, August 24, will be the beginning of filling a huge need for local families facing autism.

"To provide the area with information for what ABA treatment is, what ABA treatment should look like as well as some answers on what to access as far as that treatment," said Minch.

The conference will be at the Oak Lodge Reception and Conference Center. It begins at 9 a.m. and goes until 5 p.m.  It is free and open to the public.

To register or get more information about CARD, click here.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.