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BILL AS PASSED BY SENATE 2007-2008

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S.121

AN ACT RELATING TO AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  FINDINGS

The general assembly finds:

(1)  Autism is identified as a pervasive developmental disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM‑IV).  Pervasive developmental disorders include:  autistic disorder; Asperger’s disorder; pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified; Rett’s disorder; and childhood disintegrative disorder.  These disorders are often referred to as autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

(2)  Although this act pertains to ASD, it is noteworthy that autism is a neurologically based developmental disorder that can have profound lifelong effects in social interaction, the ability to communicate, imagination, and the establishment of relationships.

(3)  Children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders by psychologists, developmental pediatricians, psychiatrists, and neurologists.

(4)  In 1992, only 13 Vermont children with autism spectrum disorders received special education in Vermont.  According to the preliminary December 1, 2006 child count, 582 children with autism spectrum disorders are currently receiving special education in Vermont.

(5)  There is no single intervention that will be effective for all individuals with autism spectrum disorders or for the same individual across his or her lifespan.

(6)  National Research Council findings suggest that up to 48 percent of young children with autism spectrum disorders make marked progress when they receive intensive early intervention.

Sec. 2.  PLAN FOR AN INTERAGENCY INITIATIVE TO ENHANCE SERVICES FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

(a)  ASD Initiative Plan.  On or before January 15, 2008, the secretary of human services and the commissioner of education shall develop a proposed state plan for a system of care to address the needs of Vermonters with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families, that is consistent with the Vermont Interagency White Paper on Autism Spectrum Disorders:  Report to the Act 264 Board, issued March 2006.  The agency of human services, through the department for children and families, the department of health, and the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living, shall assume primary responsibility for developing the proposed plan.  The agency, together with the department of education, shall engage families of individuals with ASD and members of the Act 264 advisory board in the planning process.

(b)  The proposed plan shall include:

(1)  A review of supports and services currently available to individuals with ASD and their families.

(2)  Strategies for enabling access to early and accurate diagnosis of ASD.

(3)  Identification of deficiencies in the current system of care, regarding both the types of services provided and the availability of services in all areas of the state.

(4)  Projections of the future needs of individuals with ASD in Vermont. 

(5)  Identification of the additional support and services needed for an effective system of care for individuals with ASD and identification of potential federal and other funding sources for this system.

(6)  Strategies for the use of existing and new resources to provide training, technical assistance, information dissemination, and consultation to families, schools, local agencies, and other providers of developmental, mental health, and early intervention services.

(7)  A review of the current role of schools in connection with the provision of ASD‑related services, including the financial impact that the provision of these services has on school budgets.

(8)  Recommendations for any change in the role of schools in connection with the provision of ASD‑related services, including the financial impact that the recommended changes might have on school budgets.

(9)  Consideration of:

(A)  Whether the current allocation of costs for the provision of ASD‑related services between the education system and the agency of human services is appropriate.

(B)  How the current and potential costs of ASD‑related services provided by schools might be assumed by the agency of human services and whether such assumption would be appropriate and advisable.

(10)  Strategies for encouraging collaboration with higher education programs to provide a sufficient number of well‑trained professionals to provide ASD‑related services in all regions of the state.

(11)  A process by which the proposed plan for a system of care will be implemented, including consideration of how existing resources might be used or redirected to support the system.

(12)  Recommendations for how unmet needs might be satisfied, including any proposals for amendments to legislation or rules.

(13)  Provisions ensuring regular review and revision of the proposed system of care.

(c)  The agency and the department shall file a written plan consistent with this section with the governor and the general assembly on or before January 15, 2008.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us