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Anchorage Lawmaker Encourages Participation in Alaska Walk for Autism


(JUNEAU) – Representative Pete Petersen (D-Anchorage) formally invited his legislative colleagues to join him in marching in the Second Annual Alaska Walk for Autism this Saturday, April 10, in Juneau.

“This is a great opportunity for those who wish to learn more about autism,” Petersen said. “I hope every legislator will spend Saturday morning with those who encounter autism in their daily lives and learn about the struggles and joys the families of autistic children experience.”

Petersen is the prime sponsor of House Bill 187, which would require health insurance companies to cover autism spectrum disorders. Presently, most insurance policies do not cover treatment for autism, even if the same treatment is covered for other diagnoses.  HB 187, with 21 sponsors and co-sponsors, is pending in the House Health and Social Services (HSS) Committee. The Senate Health and Social Services Committee introduced similar legislation, Senate Bill 250, which will be referred to the Senate Finance Committee later today.

“With early diagnosis and intensive treatment, many people with autism who would otherwise need lifelong special care are able to lead normal lives,” Petersen said.  “Insurance companies should not be allowed to cash premium checks every month while denying children the treatment they need.”

The Alaska Walk for Autism will take place in Juneau this Saturday, April 10, at the Dimond Park Field House, located at 2961 Riverside Drive. Walkers may check in any time after 10:30 a.m. and walk any time between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Online registration is open now through April 8 at 8:00 p.m. at www.AKwalks4Autism.org All proceeds will go directly back into the community to help families of autistic children. All walkers will receive an event t-shirt and the first 100 registrants will receive an event water bottle on the day of the event. 

Walks will take place at the same date and time in Fairbanks at the Big Dipper Ice Arena and Soldotna at Skyview High School. Anchorage’s walk will be held Saturday, April 18, from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. at The Dome, 6501 Changepoint Drive. See www.AKwalks4Autism.org for more details.

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