Politicians Thinking And Planning to Address Autism?

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Politicians Thinking And Planning to Address Autism?

It appears that Hilary Clinton is likely the next democratic presidential nominee. As part of her platform she has announced a plan to address the needs of the increasing number of children and adults with autism. Clinton cites the CDC estimate that 1:68 in the United States was identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in 2010 or 3.5 million Americans.

Autism Spectrum DisorderFrom Clinton’s website, describing the plan as a: wide-ranging autism initiative—including screening, diagnosis, treatment, services, safety and legal protections for individuals on the autism spectrum across the lifespan, steps to ensure they are treated with dignity, partnerships to help them secure employment, support for families and caregivers, and a commitment to increase research funding to deepen our understanding of autism.” It is a big plan so the list is long… (keep scrolling)

The plan includes:

  • A nationwide early screening outreach campaign.
  • Require health insurance coverage for autism services.
  • Autism Works Initiative.
  • Authorize an adult autism prevalence study.
  • Boost early screening rates.
  • Promote multi-sector awareness campaign.
  • Improve access to autism services in the ACA marketplace and through private health insurance.
  • Increase state compliance with Medicaid coverage requirements for children with autism and other developmental disabilities and a scorecard that is publicly accessible.
  • Work with the Department of Defense to ensure military families have full access to autism services through TRICARE.
  • Enact the Keeping All Students Safe Act.
  • Protect children with autism from bullying in their classrooms.
  • Launch a new Autism Works Initiative consisting of a post-graduation transition plan for every student with autism.
  • Combine the Autism Works Initiative with new legislation to fund employment demonstration grants for individuals with autism and other disabilities.
  • Increase housing opportunities for autistic youth and adults.
  • Encourage all states to enact ABLE legislation and ensure consumer protection for ABLE account beneficiaries.
  • Provide new support to caregivers.
  • Significantly increase funding so that the government can invest more in autism research.
  • Call for an adult autism prevalence and needs study.
  • Ensure states meet their obligations under IDEA’s Child Find Program.
  • Ensure access to assistive technologies.
  • Enforce mental health parity protections.
  • Continue vigorous enforcement of Olmstead.
  • Dedicate new funding to autism protection and advocacy.

 

Clinton says her plan will benefit families with loved ones on the ASD spectrum and others with developmental disabilities. Of course, no one can know if Clinton will follow through and even if she does, if any of this will become law. But, I am encouraged that the dramatic increase in autism has finally gained some attention. Children should not suffer bullying, go undiagnosed when they need early intervention and be subjected to unnecessary restraints. I am hopeful that this is a sign that politicians are hearing the community crying out that this is a challenge we must address for the benefit of our country. No matter who you support for president we should encourage this discussion.

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Authored by Attorney Jennifer Kupiszewski Here comes the disclaimer: we are lawyers, so this blog offers both legal information and answers to common questions. However, we are not your lawyers, so reading this blog does NOT create an attorney-client relationship; it is information and not advice.  


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