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What do you do when someone says, “okay, I’ve got some good news and some bad news --- which do you want first?” Me, I always opt for the bad news first. It’s not that I’m a negative sort of person, I just want to get it out of the way so that I can get on to the good stuff.
With that in mind, let’s first talk about the results of a recent study concerning the increase in children with ASD. There’s certainly nothing good about reading that the Center for Disease Control is reporting a 30% increase in the last two years. The rate has gone from 1 in 88 two years ago to 1 in 68 today.
Of course, as in any study like this, there are lots of qualifiers. Awareness is continuing to increase, which translates to more parents recognizing the signs and seeking professional assistance. Our definitions have shifted, also, so that nearly two-thirds of those diagnosed have average to above-average intelligence. Obviously, many were left out of previous studies. The bottom line, though, no matter how you look at it, is that this is a major factor in the lives of millions of Americans.
Researchers from the CDC also stressed that the one thing that isn’t changing is that children with ASD are still being identified much later than they should be. Autism can be diagnosed by age two but the average is still over age four. This is significant. While there is currently no cure, there are many things that can be done to unlock the potential for those who experience the world differently, and early recognition can have a life-long impact.
This brings us to the better news. One of the reasons for late detection has always been the cost of medical evaluations and therapy. There appears to be some light shining at the end of this particular tunnel. All political bickering aside, the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services has posted on their website, “Because of the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans must now cover autism screening for children at 18 and 24 months – with no out-of-pocket costs. In addition, the Affordable Care Act includes many important benefits and protections that address the health care needs of those with autism. Insurers are no longer allowed to exclude anyone with autism or charge more based on this pre-existing condition. Also, children are now able to remain on their parents’ health plan until the age of 26.”
Early screening and diagnosis can literally change lives. Every day we’re realizing more and more that it isn’t that these individuals can’t learn --- it’s that we haven’t been using the right tools. Here at Time Timer, we’re very proud to be a part of this movement. Our timers are used by ASD kids and adults all over the world who benefit from being able to “see” the passage of time. Who knows how far many of them will go? In her book, Awesome Autism Quotes: Inspiration, Humor & Reflections, Margaret “Pegi” Price, quoted William Shakespeare, who just may have summed it up perfectly…..
“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”
April is an interesting month. For most folks it’s the first month for warmer temperatures and brings with it the hope that winter is finally over. Gardeners put aside their plant catalogs and horticulture magazines and head for the aisles of local nurseries. Baseball fans excitedly fill stadiums for season openers, and kids start looking forward to the Easter Bunny bringing that big basket of candy!
There is one day in April, however, that hardly anyone anticipates with joy and, in fact, celebrates when it’s over. April 15th – Tax Day. Those eager for a refund fired up Turbo Tax or visited their accountant long enough ago to have spent that money a dozen times over. Anyone who waits for April 15th does so because they suspect that they will owe money to the IRS.
So, okay, none of this is news to anyone. It happens every year. What does it have to do with your Time Timer? And, now that we’re happily past the deadline, why should we care?
We all have to pay taxes, but, hopefully, none of our readers paid more than their fair share. One of the ways we arrive at the number that represents our portion is by balancing our income with those deductions for which we’re entitled. Work-related items are legitimate expenses. If you are a teacher or use your timer at the office, it may very well qualify. This may be true even if you work at home.
Taking your trusty Time Timer on vacation so that your kids no longer bombard you with “Are we there yet?” every five minutes is an excellent idea, but it won’t help you with your taxes. Neither will using it to help your child know how much time is left before bedtime or when their turn on the computer is over. Having a timer in your classroom, on the other hand, so that your students know how much time remains for a project or test is a different story.
Here at Time Timer, we have to rely on our own accountant to determine what expenses we can deduct, so we really can’t judge your particular situation. But it would definitely be a good idea for you to discuss it with your tax professional.
If you’re one of the more than 12 million Americans to get this far into April without giving any thought to preparing for the 15th, IRS Form 4868 became your new best friend! Filing an extension isn’t nearly as good as having it over and done with, but it comes with its own sigh of relief.
For those of you with a little more time, this gives you a chance to check to see if your Time Timer qualifies as a deduction. And, even if it doesn’t, you can certainly use it to help focus a block of time on gathering W2’s and receipts. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish and how much better you’ll feel once you do!