As a managed care organization whose goal is to help our members live as independently as possible, My Choice Family Care has been proud to sponsor Wings Over Madison at the Dane County Airport, a program designed to reduce the stress of travel for families who have a child with autism.

The Dane County effort is part of Wings for Autism® and Wings for All® initiative, created by The Arc, the world’s largest community-based organization devoted to improving supports and services for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Wings initiative gives families the chance to practice the steps of air travel, from entering the airport to getting boarding passes to going through security and getting on a plane. It is hoped that such practice will make families with children who have autism more comfortable with travel and give them greater opportunities to do so.

As of January, 4.8 percent, or 404 people, of our 8,453 My Choice Family Care members had a diagnosis of autism. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. In the U.S, the CDC estimated in 2018 that one in 59 children is born with the developmental disorder, in which individuals may experience varying levels of difficulty with social skills, communication and repetitive behavior.

Because April is National Autism Awareness Month, My Choice wants to help educate people and promote understanding about this disability. Toward that end, we’d like to share these facts from the National Autism Association:

  • Early intervention is key to helping children with autism progress
  • Autism varies from person to person (no two people with autism are alike)
  • Boys are four times more likely to have autism than girls
  • About 40% of children with autism do not speak. About 25% to 30% of children with autism can speak some words at 12 to 18 months of age but then lose the ability to do so. Others might speak, but not until later in childhood.
  • The rate of autism diagnoses has steadily grown over the past two decades. The bulk of the increase stems from a growing awareness of autism and changes to the condition’s diagnostic criteria.

It’s important to remember that, as a My Choice Family Care member, you are never alone. Your Care Team stands ready to provide resources such as daily living skills training, supported employment, counseling and day services. As always, our goal is to help you and your loved ones live life to the fullest by experiencing as much independence as possible.