Smart Talk: Thousands of Pa kids with autism may lose access to services

Listen to Smart Talk every weekday at 9am and 7pm on WITF 89.5 & 93.3. You can also stream WITF radio live on our website or ask your smart speaker to “Play WITF Radio.”

Families, service providers and advocates are drawing attention to the likelihood that a state policy change will leave thousands of children with autism without their regular therapy.

Under the policy change that was set to take effect Jan. 17, children who attend therapy at clinics will no longer be able to have those services paid for by federal Medical Assistance. This therapy helps the children learn crucial skills and reach milestones, such as communicating and interacting with others.

There are more than 100,000 children in Pennsylvania living with autism, and this policy change will impact those who receive services in a clinic setting.

Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss the issue and the impact are Brett Sholtis, WITF Transforming Health Reporter, Michelle DeMarsh, founder of Pennsylvania Autism Action Center and Kathleen Bailey Stengel, CEO of NeurAbilities Healthcare.

Solar energy boom leaves communities at crossroads

The demand for green energy is only increasing as the world looks for more sustainable energy options. Solar power is one such option experiencing significant growth. In fact, Pennsylvania is on the cusp of a solar development boom.

There are currently more than 350 solar projects proposed in the commonwealth, in various stages of planning. Some of these projects are meeting considerable opposition in the communities where they will be built.

Rachel McDevitt, StateImpact PA reporter, is covering the controversy, along with some of the misinformation about solar power and she appears on Smart Talk Tuesday.