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Andrea Morris

When Ally was eighteen months old, her mother, Andrea, noticed signs of developmental delays. Ally was eventually diagnosed with autism. At five, Ally still could not speak. After traditional treatments failed, Ally’s doctors prescribed a special therapy, which TennCare agreed to cover. After less than 20 hours of therapy, Ally spoke her first words, “Hold me.” Andrea had never heard sweeter words.

Therapy stopped because TennCare stopped paying. Ally lost her ability to talk. Andrea was desperate, but didn’t know where to turn. She found the Tennessee Justice Center.

Relying on consent decrees won in lawsuits, the Tennessee Justice Center fought for Ally and got her therapy back. Ally started talking to her mother again. Now, she is learning skills she will need to lead a full life.

In 2005, the state asked the courts to eliminate consent decree protections that allow Ally to receive the therapy she needs. Determined to prevent others from suffering as her daughter suffered, Andrea, with the Tennessee Justice Center’s help, testified in federal court. Together, with the strength of clients like Andrea, the Tennessee Justice Center continues to advocate for families across the state.

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