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Autism expert to receive Federation for Children with Special Needs award for leadership in passing autism insurance legislation


Amy K. Weinstock, director of UMass Medical School’s Autism Insurance Resource Center, will be presented with the Martha Zeigler Founders Award during the Federation for Children with Special Needs’ annual gala at the Westin Waterfront Hotel in Boston May 13.


The Federation is recognizing Weinstock for her leadership role in passing several significant pieces of autism insurance legislation in Massachusetts, including the groundbreaking 2010 law, An Act Relative to Insurance Coverage for Autism (ARICA), requiring health insurance to cover medically necessary treatment for autism.

The parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum, Weinstock established the resource center at UMass Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center in 2011. The resource center helps consumers, providers, employers and educators understand ARICA. Among its offerings is the “Am I Covered,” tool to help families determine whether their health insurance policy covers services under Massachusetts law.

Weinstock was chair of the Insurance Committee of Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts and a member of Gov. Deval Patrick’s Special Commission Relative to Autism, playing a key role in passing ARICA in 2010. She drafted a blueprint for ARICA in 2005 during her Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) fellowship at the Shriver Center.

The Founder’s Award was established to honor Federation Founder Martha Ziegler’s visionary leadership and hard work as a prominent parent leader of the Parent Movement in the United States. The award is given annually to an individual who continues that vision to educate, advocate and inspire.

Other event honorees include Deborah Allen, director of the Bureau of Child, Adolescent and Family Health at the Boston Public Health Commission, who will receive the President’s Award, and Maureen Brenner, head of Riverview School, who will receive the Patricia Blake Advocacy Award.

The Federation for Children with Special Needs was founded in 1974 by parents of children with disabilities and is recognized both locally and nationally as a pioneering organization that advocates for quality education, strong parent participation and access to quality health care services for all children, especially those with disabilities.