Families Sue After Provider Discontinues Autism Therapy
A group of families is filing a class action lawsuit after a state-funded services provider in Los Angeles stopped offering an autism therapy some consider experimental.
The Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center, which provides state-funded autism therapy for children residing in specific Los Angeles neighborhoods, stopped offering a therapy known as “DIR” or Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship-based treatment last year. The change came after a California law went into effect last summer barring state-funded centers from using “experimental treatments.”
DIR is the basis for a technique called Floortime, whereby therapists follow the child’s lead to encourage socialization through play.
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The parents participating in the lawsuit say that DIR is the only approach that’s been effective in curbing behavior problems in their children. In their suit, the families allege that discontinuing the treatment violates a California law intended to prevent institutionalization.
Further, they say that the Eastern Los Angeles Regional Center is the only state-funded regional center in California to discontinue DIR.
“DIR treatment is what stands between these children and a life of dependence,” said Laura Faer, the directing attorney at the Public Counsel’s Children’s Rights Project, which is representing the families. “DIR is cost-effective, changes lives and prevents state-funded hospitalization and institutionalization.”
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