Delaware State Senator Margaret Henry Chairs Autism Task Force, First Meeting Was September 30th @KilroysDelaware @ed_in_de @delawareonline @doverpost @TheStateNews @CapeGazette @WBOC @wdel

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The first meeting of the Autism Task Force was on September 30th.  Chaired by Delaware State Senator Margaret Henry of the 2nd District, the Autism Task Force was created by Senate Concurring Resolution 65 at the end of the 2014 Fiscal Year legislative session.  The purpose of the task force is to make recommendations on the University of Delaware’s Center For Disabilities Study on autism which created a Blueprint For Collective Action for education of autistic students in Delaware and beyond.

The study done by the University of Delaware’s Center For Disabilities Studies had some startling statistics about autism in America. 1 out of 88 American births are producing a child in the autism spectrum disorder which has grown at a rate of 1,148% with annual rates gaining anywhere from 7-10%. Current costs for autism in the USA are at $60 billion dollars, but in the next decade they are expected to soar anywhere from $200-$400 billion dollars. Out of the $60 billion that is currently spent on autism, $36 billion is spent on adults with autism. It is estimated that 2/3rd of these costs could be alleviated based on early diagnosis and treatment for children in the autism spectrum. An estimated 56% of students with autism finish high school.

Autism rates in Delaware over a 10 year period have gone from 475 in 2004 to 1,208 in 2013, rising nearly 3 times during the past decade.

The blueprint’s mission statement is to start “a statewide plan for improving and coordinating services and support to Delaware’s children, youth and adults with autism that contain long and short-range goals associated with specific outcomes. This was a result of stakeholder consensus that included a strong voice from parents and families and represented all ages and services from birth to late aged.”

The Blueprint model originated from the Statewide Autism Summit on June 7th, 2012. As a result of the summit, workgroups and committees formed, and they met from September, 2012 until May, 2013. In July of 2013, an Interagency Committee for Autism met, which resulted in a “Futures Plan” within a “Logic Model Framework” the same month. Various stakeholders involved in the process included hospitals, health professionals, the Delaware Department of Education, other state agencies, colleges and universities, families, advocacy agencies, schools, and various school districts. “The expected long-term outcome: To assure that all Delaware citizens with autism have the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to live independent or interdependent lives within the community.”

The blueprint has six areas of improvement it would like the state of Delaware to take a strong look at.

1) Better identification, diagnosis, and classification.

2) Training and technical assistance.

3) Pre-Professional training

4) Self-Determination, Self-Advocacy, and Social Network Development

5) Transition to Adult Life

6) Systems Coordination

In June 2014, as the legislative session wound down, the Delaware Senate passed Senate Concurring Resolution 65.  The resolution called for the initiation of Educational and Technical Assistance Teams and a statewide Autism Resource Center.

The Autism task force will have 25 minutes allotted each meeting for public comment.  The next meetings will occur on October 21st, November 8th, December 9th, January 13th, February 10th and March 10th.  No times are shown at present for the meetings, but I will certainly update this information as soon as I get it.

Senator Henry has a long and distinguished history in the Delaware Senate, proudly serving the 2nd District since 1994.  At present, she serves as the Senate Majority Whip for Delaware.  Henry will face Republican candidate Robert F. Martin in the November 4th election.  During the 147th Legislative Assembly in Delaware, Senator Henry served on the education committee along with fellow Senators David Sokola, Bethany Hall-Long, Nicole Poore, Bryan Townsend, Catherine Cloutier and Ernesto Lopez.  She also served as the chair of the Judiciary and Administrative Services/Election committees, while being a part of the Community/County Affairs, Executive, Ethics, Health & Social Services, Legislative Council and Permanent Rules committees during the same time period.  She has also served as the Executive Director of Delaware Guidance and as the Assistant Dean at Delaware -Technical and Community College.

 

*First picture of Senator Margaret Rose Henry is from the University of Delaware website, with the section entitled Blacks In Delaware

*Second picture of Senator Margaret Rose Henry is from Matt Denn’s campaign website for Attorney General of Delaware

 

 

 

Another Task Force! SCR 65: Autism Educational Taskforce

I hope all these Senate Concurrent Resolutions do some worthwhile fact rendering and important legislation comes out of it.  There is no time like the present for improvement!

 

SPONSOR: Sen. Henry & Sen. Townsend
  Sens. Blevins, Ennis, Hall-Long, Lopez, Poore, Venables; Reps. Baumbach, Bennett, Brady, Briggs King, Dukes, Gray, Hudson, Jaques, J. Johnson, Kowalko, Osienski, Ramone, B. Short, D. Short, Smyk

 

DELAWARE STATE SENATE

147th GENERAL ASSEMBLY

 

SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 65

 

 CREATING AN AUTISM EDUCATIONAL TASK FORCE.

WHEREAS, the University of Delaware’s Center for Disabilities Studies conducted a comprehensive statewide appraisal of the ongoing needs of Delawareans with autism spectrum disorder (hereinafter “ASD”); and

WHEREAS, a summit was held inviting a diverse group of stakeholders involved in the lives of individuals with ASD that provided the opportunity to express individual perspectives or concerns regarding the Blueprint; and

WHEREAS, the Delaware Department of Education (hereinafter “DDOE”) provides valuable education opportunities and services to students with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the state of Delaware has a history of providing a groundbreaking and innovative, evidence-based education program for students with ASD; and

WHEREAS, students who have an ADS function at many different and individual cognitive levels; and

WHEREAS, the conclusions found in the Blueprint regarding the educational needs of students with ASD show that there are areas needing improvement.

NOW THEREFORE:

BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the 147th General Assembly of the State of Delaware, the House of Representatives concurring therein, that an Autism Educational Task Force (hereinafter “Task Force”) is established to study the Blueprint to prioritize and make recommendations regarding the initiation of Educational and Technical Assistance Teams and a statewide Autism Resource Center, and to research appropriate funding streams to enable the creation and implementation of these two programs.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force shall be composed of the following members:

(a)   One member of the Delaware State Senate appointed by the President Pro Tem; and

(b) One member of the Delaware House of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House; and

(c) Two parents of an individual with ASD, from a variety of age groups and geographic areas, one to be appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Education Committee, one to be appointed by the Chairman of the House Education Committee; and

(d) Two individuals personally affected by autism one to be appointed by the President Pro Tem, one to be appointed by the Speaker of the House; and

(e) A private service provider for Delawareans with ASD to be appointed by the Delaware Secretary of Health and Human Services; and

(f) The Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education or a designee thereof; and

(g) The Secretary of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) or a designee thereof; and

(h) The Secretary of the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families (DSCYF) or a designee thereof; and

(i)   The Secretary of the Delaware Department of Labor (DOL) or a designee thereof; and

(j) The Executive Director of Autism Delaware or a designee thereof; and

(k) The Executive Director of the Delaware Parent Information Center or a designee thereof; and

(l) The Director of the Delaware Division of Developmental Disability Services (DDDS) or a designee thereof; and

(m) The Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) or a designee thereof; and

(n) The Director of the Delaware Birth to Three Early Intervention System or a designee thereof; and

(o) The Director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Disabilities Studies (CDS) or a designee thereof

(p) The Statewide Director of the Delaware Autism Program or a designee thereof; and

(q) The Board Chair of the Delaware Autism Program Peer Review Board or a designee thereof.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force shall convene its first meeting no later than 60 days after enactment. The member of the Delaware State Senate appointed by the President Pro Tem shall serve as the chair of the Task Force, and shall convene the first and subsequent meetings.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Education shall provide staff and fiscal support for the Task Force.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Task Force shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly to be reviewed by the Senate Education Committee and the House Education Committee on or before March 31, 2015.

SYNOPSIS

This resolution establishes an Autism Educational Task Force.

Author: Senator Henry