Reisinger Booth & Associates, P.C., L.L.O.

Nebraska bill addresses special needs children of divorce

The state of Nebraska has its share of family law issues. Inherent in dealing with marriage, legal separations or divorce, mediation may be the best way to provide for children with special needs.

A new law signed by Gov. Dave Heineman attempts to address common misconceptions regarding the rising number of children diagnosed with autism. While rare, (less than one in 70), the disorder can be agonizing within a united family. In families dealing with divorce, separation or custody, a special needs child requires unique attention.

The new bill is a timely one. LB 254 addresses the welfare of an autistic child, including provisions for therapy and increased insurance coverage. Nebraska is the 36th state to pass a law requiring coverage for autistic treatment and services.

Autism is a mysterious disease characterized by neurobehavioral disorders. Autistic children often display certain symptoms including repetitive behavior patterns like rocking, attention to numbers, figures and rare perceptions of objects and textures. They can be severely deficient in social skills, as well as nonverbal and unable to get along with peers or form friendships.

Since the scope of symptoms is so wide, parents and families in a healthy relationship are challenged daily to navigate through the disorder. A failing marriage makes dealing with autism an almost insurmountable challenge.

The good news is that there are steps that help families identify and diagnose certain varieties of autism. New manuals have been published, and more specialists are available to test and evaluate special needs children.

In cases of family mediation, it is necessary to integrate a knowledge of new laws and a willingness to research developing concepts when dealing with a child's well-being. It is critical to stay current with the legislation in Nebraska to best help parents who are separating.

Families experiencing the agony of separation or divorce need to especially vigilant with special needs children. The help of a mediator could be the most effective avenue to determine how a disabled child will be cared for in the future. There is help and support available, and as more information becomes available about your autistic child, the better your chances are to create a happy and healthy life for your family's future.

Source:, "Understanding Nebraska's new autism law" Katie Vollmuth, May. 13, 2014

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Reisinger Booth & Associates, P.C., L.L.O.

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