Legislation that has passed the Illinois House would help people like Rebekah by creating a model adult day care program for adults with autism that supporters hope could be used by other agencies throughout the state.
“This is one of the No. 1 problems, not just in Illinois, but in all of the United States,” said Rep. Patricia Bellock, R-Hinsdale, the sponsor of House Bill 4990. “We call it falling off the cliff. We can keep them in school until they’re 22. After that, they have nothing for them.” [emphasis added]
The United States has experienced a 78 percent increase in autism cases in the last 10 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Partly as a result, an increasing number of bills have been introduced in the General Asembly to deal with the subject, including legislation that requires training by police and firefighters in dealing with the autistic and tightens insurance requirements.
This year, there are two major pieces of legislation: Bellock’s bill cleared the House on a 106-6 vote and is pending in the Senate. Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, is sponsoring a bill that would require insurance companies to cover previously diagnosed autistic children, even if the definition of autism changes later to exclude them. That bill is pending in the Senate.