Delaware Senator Margaret-Rose Henry introduced Senate Bill 92 today, and it could mean huge changes for the Delaware Autism Program (DAP). Citing an increase in reported Autism diagnoses in Delaware of 900%, this much-needed legislation will give extra supports and services these children desperately need. From the official press release given today at Legislative Hall in Dover:
Lawmakers and stakeholders held a press conference Tuesday afternoon announcing legislation that would realign the state’s educational model for students diagno…sed with autism by adding services allowing them to be educated in their home schools. The legislation also would create a panel to monitor the latest developments in educating students with autism spectrum disorders and craft policy reflecting those changes.
Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington South, who co-chaired the Autism Education Task Force with Rep. Earl Jaques, said there was a pressing need for the changes.
“When you look at the sheer numbers, our population of students diagnosed on the autism spectrum has exploded,” she said. “There’s a need to modernize our policies for these students and ensure we’re equipping their teachers, families and the agencies who assist them, with the best possible information.”
Currently, there are about 1,500 students diagnosed with autism in Delaware’s public schools. That’s up nearly 900 percent over the 152 students diagnosed with autism in 1992, when an initial statewide autism program was first established.
Please read the proposed legislation below:
And as I reported earlier, only it didn’t have a bill number attached to it yet, Senate Bill 93, creating the Delaware Interagency Committee for Autism and the Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism: