autistic

Feel-good story: Colorado prison-trained dog turned autistic boy’s life around

Susy Tucker marks the time her autistic son, Zach, began hugging her again — after a lapse of four years — by the arrival of Clyde, a chocolate Labrador trained behind bars by a convicted killer. Within three weeks of Clyde’s arrival at the Tuckers’ home in Colorado Springs, Zach went from petting his dog to wrapping his arms around his mother. It was a stunning moment, one of many to follow. The boy who once grimaced and whined at any skin-to-skin contact had learned the warmth of touching from a dog. Zach and Clyde’s story is one of redemption — of how a rescue dog, a prisoner and a boy learned empathy and understanding from one another. Zach’s parents had run out of ideas and were skeptical when they stepped into the visiting room at the high-security Sterling pr...

Help for autistic kids

The lives of thousands of Colorado’s autistic children and their parents just got a little easier — and it’s about time. On July 1, Colorado became the 12th state in the nation to reform insurance coverage for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). It is now state law that private group health insurance providers cover a range of treatments — including speech and physical therapy — for patients with ASD. The law, known as HIMAT (Health Insurance Mandated Autism Treatment), prescribes applied behavioral analysis (ABA) as the legally mandated treatment approach. ABA aims to teach socially acceptable behaviors, such as appropriate eye contact, to give autistic kids a better shot at developing into higher-functioning adults. These pragmatic therapies must be delivered by ce...