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As we celebrate Autism Awareness month this April, the Autism Alliance of Michigan is making life-changing strides in providing high quality navigation services for families, with the launch of MiNavigator.

MiNavigator is a dynamic, personalized resource and case management program that is specific to Michigan and valued for maintaining the most up-to-date, reliable information for services, support and resources in the state. AAoM, with the partial support of $1.5 million in state funding, will provide families with highly skilled experts in areas of clinical, education, insurance and adult service issues.

“We are growing an extensive network of autism providers in this state in the years since autism insurance legislation became effective,” said Colleen Allen, president & chief executive officer of AAoM. “However, we are still finding that families must overcome many hurdles as they continue to navigate and access quality services. There is an overwhelming amount of information.”

MiNavigator is not just for children with autism. As more and more children transition to adulthood, the community at large will need to increase awareness and understanding of this disorder as we manage the growing numbers of adults on the autism spectrum.

“The fact is, we all know someone with autism,” said Dave Meador, vice chairman for DTE Energy and co-founder of AAoM. “AAoM is working toward a day when it will be commonplace for most people to not just have met an individual on the spectrum, but to also attend college, work beside, or better yet, have a best friend or spouse who has autism.”

Meador spent years lobbying for the 2012 state law requiring health insurers to cover autism treatment and is currently working toward changes in public education and employment policies for adults with disabilities, especially autism.

The MiNavigator offers free case management for families, with convenient access to information and experts, including online and web-based resources, direct phone contact or email inquiries. For further information contact the AAoM at www.autismallianceofmichigan.org or 877.463.AAOM.

The Autism Alliance of Michigan brings together autism providers and families statewide through its three pillars of mission work – Community, Advocacy, and Navigation. The organization was established in 2009, and is best known for leading efforts toward autism insurance legislation passed in 2012, and subsequently followed by a Medicaid benefit and participation on the governor appointed Michigan Autism Council. AAoM encourages all members of our community to get involved with autism reform efforts through family and professional events, community outreach, and safety and awareness training.

For more information about AAoM, or to purchase tickets to this year’s “Success is a Spectrum Parent Conference” or “Michigan Shines for Autism Gala”, call 248.436.5606. This year’s special Gala guest speaker is former Detroit Lions’ player, Rodney Peete, who will share his own personal navigation journey. Michigan Lt. Gov. Brian Calley will speak at both the Gala and the parent conference. Hour Media is the exclusive magazine sponsor of the Gala.

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