Seahawks family rallies for autism charity

By Neal McNamara | April 2, 2014
schneiders

According recent figures, one out of every 68 children has autism, and it strikes boys at a rate five-times higher than girls.

Treating autism properly is costly. To pay for specialized education and developmental therapy services, families can spend $60,000 or more per year.

On Wednesday, David Boze welcomed Traci Schneider and her husband John, general manger of the Seahawks, to talk about their charity that helps families pay for the cost of caring for children with autism.

LISTEN: DAVID BOZE TALKS TO JOHN AND TRACI SCHNEIDER

When their son, Ben, was 3, doctors diagnosed him with autism. Ben got 35 hours per-week of applied behavioral analysis therapy administered by a team of five specialists – plus, speech and occupational therapy outside the home.

The therapy paid off, and Ben eventually began attending a mainstream school. Realizing how much therapy costs, the Schneiders started Ben’s Fund in 2012 to help families get the financial support needed to provide proper autism treatment.

“Most insurance companies don’t cover autism care, and the state doesn’t have a program to cover autism care – people are paying out of pocket,” Traci Schneider told Boze. “I think part of the problem is that autism is considered a developmental disability, and with so many insurance companies, they don’t cover developmental disabilities.”

Ben’s Fund is a mission of FEAT, Families for Effective Autism Treatment, and provides grants for a number of services, including various types of therapy, service dogs, playground equipment, specialty bikes, pressure clothing, and much more.

Each year, the Schneiders host the event Prime Time: A Spirited Celebrity Waiter Event to raise money for Ben’s Fund. Last year’s event raised more than $250,000, but the fund is constantly accepting donations. The Seahawks and the 12th Man have played a huge role in fundraising.

“Tell us about bringing the Seahawks on board,” Boze asked.

“The Seahawks are our family as well, and have done a lot of really neat things, like donating 10 percent of all sales of Super Bowl T-shirts and hats – also just the way everyone supports what’s going on with Traci and myself,” John Schneider said.

“We’re just doing a small part of what we can to help out families,” Traci Schneider said. “One in 68 have autism, and that’s a pretty recent number. It’s one in 42 boys, five times more common than girls.”

“That’s a lot of friends and neighbors with a need for a little extra help,” Boze said.

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