House OKs Bill To Help People With Autism

April 25, 2019

Yesterday was a good day in the legislature. We passed three bills to benefit people with Autism — one proposed by me, one out of my committee, and one I cosponsored.

HB 5559, An Act Concerning Communication between Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Law Enforcement Officers

The bill would require the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to make available, upon request by a person with autism spectrum disorder, a blue envelope to contain such person's operator's license, registration and insurance card. This will allow officers to know the person is on the Autism Spectrum, and signal that they need to utilize their Autism Safety Training (which I authored and passed in 2017). The idea came from Lynne Cariglio, my constituent and friend, and passed unanimously. Thank you Chairman Roland Lemar for your leadership and compassion!

HB 6184, An Act Concerning Access to Information on Early Childhood Interventions

The bill will require (1) the Office of Early Childhood to develop a document concerning developmental milestones experienced by children from birth to age five and information on how to access the Child Development Infoline, and (2) child care centers, group child care homes and family child care homes to post copies of such document on the premises of such centers and homes. Signs of autism are often present as early as 18 months of age, and early intervention can make a big difference for kids on the spectrum. Congratulations to State Representative Kara Rochelle on the passage of her first bill; I was proud to raise it in my committee.

HB 7168, An Act Concerning Transitional Services for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The bill requires the first individual education program (IEP) for a child who is 14 years old and diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder to include (1) appropriate measurable post-secondary goals and (2) transition services, including courses of study, needed to assist a child in reaching those goals. Under the bill, post-secondary goals are based on age-appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and where appropriate, independent living skills. Federal regulations impose these requirements beginning with the first IEP in effect when a child with a disability turns 16, or earlier if determined appropriate (34 C.F.R. § 300.320). Once again, Cathy Abercrombie is the ultimate champion in the legislature for autism families, and I’m honored to be her colleague and friend, and cosponsor this legislation.