Awareness is Key – part 7

A quick reminder that the Autism Walk is this weekend September 28 at Coxhall Gardens in Carmel.  I will be there so come walk with Evan!  Get some information, meet with others and walk for Awareness!

We met with Evan’s lead therapist yesterday and it was a great meeting.  Evan is doing very well and it was noted in the meeting.  Karen was ecstatic with Evan’s food program.  He made it through bread in a week or so, blueberry muffins in one week and now, even after only 4 days he is actually eating a hamburger, a full McDonald’s hamburger!  He eats the bun and the burger together without any significant issues.  Karen stated that usually the food program takes much longer to achieve this level of success so we are really happy and looking forward to additional food successes.  Next up are strawberries!  This may not be huge to others that have “picky” eaters but previously Evan wouldn’t have even touched any of the foods mentioned earlier.  What do you think we should try next?  Always looking for ideas.

Looks like there are going to be a lot of changes coming in the next few weeks.  We already know that health insurance for all is required in 2014 so on October 1 the marketplace opens for registration.  This is the program that will supply insurance for those of us without it. is the website where we will be able to compare the costs and benefits of multiple plans.  I am not looking forward to the process but at least coverage based on pre-existing conditions, excessive waiting periods and rescissions are a thing of the past.  We do have to make sure that behavioral health treatment for Evan is covered just to further complicate matters.  Definitely not looking forward to it but I am not alone in that regard.  No one really wants to deal with insurance or insurance issues but it looks like we don’t have any choice!  We are pretty much used to constantly fighting with the insurance company since it seems someone sitting in the office knows what is best for Evan.  Must be some of miracle worker if you ask me.  If anyone that reads this can help or explain it, let me know.  I am sure there are many much smarter people than I in this regard.

Another pressing issue, but maybe not as serious, is the concern that the Disney Corporation is going to change the current Guest Assistance Cards to a Disabled Assistance System.  Since there has been a lot of fraudulent usage of the GAC cards, the system probably does need to be updated.  As of now Disney has not specified what changes are imminent but the changes are supposed to occur October 9.  Right now it is all rumor and conjecture.  As you may know, Evan loves to go to Disney World and we are actually going in a couple of weeks so we will be able to get a first-hand view of the new process if there are any actual changes.  From what I have read the new system will be more like the fastpass system with some modifications.  A common misconception is that the GAC allows “front of the line” access.  This is not true as there is some waiting involved, albeit sometimes in a less congested area of the ride queue.  We don’t mind waiting and in most cases our waiting area is in the fastpass lane or in the wheelchair area.  Whatever the system changes are, I am confident that Disney will not make special needs travel impossible.  This change will be interesting to say the least.  The fact that I also help others set up Disney travel through HiHo Vacations ( or just adds to the need for knowledge.  Evan has been to Disney 9 times and we are looking forward to many more trips.   I believe that Disney will continue to be the Happiest Place on Earth, even with the changes.

Awareness is the key!

by: Jim Monroe

Memorial Ride Raises Money for Autism

On Saturday, July 27, a family in Manchester took part in a remembrance ride in honor of two family members that passed away: Tim Haas, on January 13, 2010, to suicide; and Leo Haas, on July 26, 2011, to heart complications).  All proceeds were donated to the Mercy Hospital Autism Center in Dubuque.


This marks the second year that the Haas family has decided to take part in an annual memorial ride.  Last year they intended to cover funeral and headstone costs.  Next year they plan to help raise awareness of suicide.


The ride began at 10 a.m., on a 115-mile run starting at the Eagles Club in Manchester.  Even with the weather being very chilly that morning, many still showed up to support the ride.  There were over 50 bikes, some of them coming from as far as Cedar Falls.  There were a dozen buses and several cars.  The first stop was The Eagles Club in Monticello; then they stopped at a lunch stop at the General Store in Stone City.


The ride continued on through Waubeek, Troy Mills, and Wolfey’s in Quesqueton.  From there they headed to the city park in Masonville, where they relished in food, music, raffles, and good fellowship.


With the public’s support, the Haas family raised $1,000 for the Mercy Hospital Autism Center.  The family was honored to help support such a worthy cause, and hope their efforts have raised more awareness. “It was wonderful to be able to say that we helped in doing our part for autism,” said the family.  “Hopefully next year’s ride will be warmer.”


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