Special Needs

The Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute received a $905,000 donation from the Jane Botsford Johnson Foundation earlier this year to fund autism research.

The grant allows S. Jill James, director of the Autism Metabolic Genomics Laboratory at ACHRI, to continue two related studies aimed at understanding the underlying biochemical abnormalities in children with autism and providing improved treatment options for these children.

In 2011, the Arkansas legislature passed a law requiring most group health insurance plans to cover a range of treatments and therapies for children with autism — including applied behavioral analysis (ABA), a very intensive type of therapy that is very effective but also expensive enough that only the wealthiest of families could afford to pay for it on their own.