Thursday, February 25, 2016

Autism bill gets Senate committee approval

A bill intended to foster continued improvements in services for individuals with autism spectrum disorders passed the Senate Health and Welfare Committee today.

Senate Bill 185, sponsored by Senate Health and Welfare Chair Julie Raque Adams, R-Louisville, would require Kentucky to have an Advisory Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders and a state Office of Autism.  The advisory council has already been created by an executive order in 2013 and the Office of Autism was established in 2014 to coordinate and enhance the services of statewide and regional agencies. The legislation would make these entities permanent by law.

Harold Kleinert, co-chair of the Advisory Council on Autism Spectrum Disorders, says that SB 185 would ensure that there aren’t gaps in providing services to individuals with an autism spectrum disorder.

“It’s a complex series of moving parts, and the way to deal with that is an advisory council that represents the key state agencies, state universities, families and self-advocates,” said Kleinert. “No single agency has within its own scope a sufficient charge to really address the lifespan needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families.”

SB 185 now moves to the Senate for consideration.