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Parents Sue Over Loss of Therapy for Autistic Children

By Minara El-Rahman on January 20, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Parents of more than 100 autistic children in eastern Los Angeles have filed a class action against the nonprofit agency Eastern Los Angeles County Regional Center for what they claim is an illegal suspension of therapy for autistic children. The Los Angeles Times reports that the agency claims that it cut the therapy for autistic children because of state budget cuts.

The parents claim that if their children are treated now, then they will be less likely to need state help in the future. The lawyer for the families, Laura Faer, told Fox News: "These kids, if they get this treatment now, are far less likely to be dependent in the future. They'll be able to achieve dreams and lead independent lives."

The therapy in question is called DIR Therapy. DIR stands for Developmental, Individual Difference, Relationship based Model. This is a mode of therapy where a therapist works with the autistic child in playful activities in order to build their strengths and social skills. While the agency that cut the program claims that their DIR therapy was a non-medical therapy and experimental, the lawsuit differs.

The families contend that the therapy is not experimental because it has been reported to be "clinically effective" and the lawsuit has pointed to the fact that other agencies in the state have not cut back their own DIR programs. They claim that cutting this therapy "threatens to condemn our clients and this group of children to a bleak future under institutionalized care."

The Los Angeles Times reports that while there are no controlled studies done on DIR therapy, the National Research Council deemed it common enough with other proven methods of therapy back in 2001.

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