Friday, April 30, 2010

Sen. Aguirre's bill creating Autism Task Force signed into law

STATE CAPITOL, Phoenix – Legislation sponsored by Sen. Amanda Aguirre that creates the Autism Spectrum Disorder Task Force was signed into law.

“With the increasing number of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, it is vital that we are able to coordinate the services available so that parents and providers will have access to it,” said Sen. Amanda Aguirre. “We still do not know the cause of autism spectrum disorders, but with coordinated research we can help families and caregivers in their fight.”

“This bill will bring together the right people to take a critical look at our state service system—as well as successful service systems in other states—to recommend more supportive and fiscally responsible practices for supporting families affected by autism,” said Dr. Daniel Openden, Vice President, Clinical Services Director for the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center. “If our state service system can become more coordinated and supportive of families, and direct resources towards effective services, there is no question that many more individuals with autism in Arizona can learn to talk, socially interact, participate in the community, be employed, live independently and lead meaningful lives as Arizona citizens.”

SB 1181, which creates the task force, will:

- Review the coordination of services provided by state agencies, schools and organizations relating to the treatment of persons with autism spectrum disorder, including resources available to the families and other caregivers of persons with autism spectrum disorder.

- Identify problems and recommend solutions regarding the availability of services to persons with autism spectrum disorder and their families and caregivers and the efficient delivery and coordination of those services.

- Identify current funding sources for services provided to persons with autism spectrum disorder and determine if there are additional available federal or other funding sources that are not being used.

- Identify and recommend opportunities for the sharing of resources of services to persons with autism spectrum disorder, including partnerships between the public and private sectors.

- Identify evidence-based treatments and best practices for autism spectrum disorder.

- Identify state models and service systems for persons with autism spectrum disorder.

Aguirre is a long-time supporter of autism research. In 2008, Aguirre also sponsored “Steven’s Law,” which requires insurance companies to cover autism services.

Today, one in every 150 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers from Disease Control 2007 data. This definition includes Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

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