Co-created by the parents of a boy with autism and a certified speech-language pathologist, HandHold Adaptives slightly-less-publicized iPrompts® uses AAC technology to assist parents, teachers and therapists in scheduling and sequencing events for developmentally challenged and language-impaired individuals, such as those with Down syndrome, autism, speech-language disorders or otherwise cognitive disabilities. Unlike Proloquo2Go, iPrompts does not offer text-to-speech technology; however, it does offer a number of other useful tools, such as a visual countdown timer and picture scheduling. Users can access stock photos to create schedules and choice prompts, upload their own, or take pictures with the iPhone camera to add to their image library. Its also significantly cheaper than Proloquo2Go, at only $49.99.
Sounds great, right? Many parents agree. So do the 76 professional centers in 31 states already using Proloquo2Go within a mere six months of its creation, including the FAAST Central Regional Demonstration Center, right here in Tampa. So why wont Medicare or Medicaid pay for it?
According to the New York Times and other sources, governmental insurance requires the maker of assistive technology, regardless of its effectiveness, to block any non-speech software, such as text messaging or browsing the web. That means that, even if an individual makes measurable progress while using multipurpose technology, Medicare and Medicaid will not cover it because it is multipurpose. This has created a frenzy across innumerable media sources, including USA Today and the New York Times, http://www.autismpodcast.com and parent message boards across the web.
One such article, found on tuaw.com, a website reporting on iphone news, reads, Once again it seems that technology has outstripped law, and I hope that this inexcusable coverage hole will be repaired.
Inexcusable coverage hole, indeed. Why are we (and I do mean we) willing to cover an $8,000 PC hardly even transportable, and embarrassing for any kid to have to use but not a hand-held, proven-effective device that, hardware and software included, barely totals $500? Why, because an on-the-go mom can email her kids doctor while simultaneously finding out what kind of juice he wants? How does that make sense?
Get with it, U.S. government. Its the 21st century. Even you must act accordingly.