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Friday, February 12, 2016

Autism Action Plan: The Bills

The Politics of Autism includes an extensive discussion of policy initiatives in the states.

At the Albany Times-Union, New York State Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara describes his Autism Action Plan:
The plan includes a bill (A.5141) that would add communication support to the state’s current vocational rehabilitation services for job seekers with ASD to improve employment outcomes, addressing the high unemployment rates for people with developmental disabilities, especially people with Autism, who traditionally need help improving interpersonal skills.
It also includes an Autism Home Loan Program (A.8696) that offers a creative option for independent long-term housing needs for family members that are developmentally disabled by leveraging their own resources.
A Communication & Technology Bill of Rights (A.8708) would give people with disabilities better access to technology and information, and a first-of-its kind state issued Autism Spectrum Disorder Identification Card (A.8389) as an option for New Yorkers to replace locally issued identifications and homemade notes. The optional ID card would allow an individual, parent or guardian to easily communicate important information, including difficulties with instruction and issues with physical contact, to with airport security, law enforcement and first responders, and even at crowded venues like a theme park.

Autism Action NY works a lot like the Autism Society’s Autism Awareness Ribbon, whose pattern of interlocking pieces represents the complexity of the autism spectrum. I see the pieces of this plan as puzzle pieces joined together by a central community participation piece – an Autism Spectrum Disorder Advisory Board (A.8635) that would develop, implement, monitor and annually update a statewide Autism Action Plan, allowing it to evolve by incorporating new information as it becomes available. This board would also ensure that the right services are being delivered to the right people at the right time in an efficient way, and would serve as a one-stop shop for our families seeking autism services.