• Tal

    Lee County, FL

     

    From being a non-verbal child to communicating for a living, The Netflix Series “Atypical” actress shares her journey and the essential role of Medicaid.

  • How does a child go from being completely non-verbal at age 4 to blossoming into the valedictorian of her college graduating class to then becoming a star in the Netflix Series “Atypical” -- verbally communicating for a living? Having Medicaid coverage of needed therapy made Tal’s journey possible. 

     

    “I got tremendous help from therapists who taught me how to do the things I was having problems doing like reading, speaking and writing. If I had grown up without their help, I don’t think I would have ‘learned how to learn’ and may not have known how to achieve the things in life that I have. I can’t imagine not being the “ME” I am today” explained Tal Anderson, the 23-year-old actress and autism advocate. 

     

    As a young family, it was the education and access to experts that Tal’s parents needed the most to help her and her brother, who is also autistic. “We would never have known the possibilities and would have been terrible advocates” said Tal’s mom, Vickie Vaughan Anderson. Instead, seeing the profound difference that therapy made in their children’s lives, her parents became highly effective advocates. The Medicaid therapists they worked with taught Vickie to fight for her children, in school, in life and for their future.

    I got tremendous help from therapists who taught me how to do the things I was having problems doing like reading, speaking and writing. If I had grown up without their help, I don’t think I would have ‘learned how to learn’.”

  • Tal personifies the life changing impact investments in Medicaid can make for children and their families’ long-term health and success. She exudes the resilience, independence and self-esteem that come from consistent and reliable access to early intervention and therapeutic services that would not have been available if it were not for Medicaid. 

     

    She learned to read almost at the same time she began to speak thanks to a Speech Therapist funded by Medicaid. “To have a child at 4-years-old not speak one day and then suddenly speak and read another seemed like a miracle” said her mom. Fast forward 17 years and seeing that same child graduate from college, you appreciate very clearly how the confidence and self-esteem developed from positive experiences and successes along the journey were made possible by investments in Medicaid. 

       

    “It is easy to look at a number on a page and not see faces” when budget decisions are made, explained Vickie. Services provided to children like Tal are not just treatments, they are supports that have long-term, positive life-long effects that allow children to grow up to be contributing members to society. Vickie’s experience has taught her that while Medicaid provides services to children in need, it also gives parents the knowledge to help their children as well “because knowledge is power.”

  • Read STORIES Of Other Floridians

    Relying On Medicaid

    Former Foster

    Care Children

    Pregnant

    Women

    Low-Income Parents

    Seniors and the Disabled

  • We are grateful to the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) for their support of the

    "Medicaid | The Lived Experience" STORIES Project.