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Oklahoma State Senate
Senator Ron Justice
State Capitol Room 423
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
(405) 521-5537

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For Immediate Release: April 14, 2009

Sen. Ron Justice
Sen. Ron Justice


Greater Access to Services for Autistic Children Seen as Good First Step

The State Senate unanimously passed HB 2027 today, a bill which will provide better services and more access to care for autistic children and their families.

The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, provides for the enactment of a licensing process for national Board Certified Behavioral Analysts and enhancement of existing state programs that would train doctors to diagnose and treat autism.

Studies have determined that a shortage of trained providers has made it difficult for families to obtain autism services, even when they have financial assistance.

“This is a very positive and compassionate step toward meeting the needs of the families who are dealing with the growing challenge of autistic children,” said Justice. “Until we build a trained and accessible provider network in Oklahoma, all of the insurance coverage in the world won’t meet the needs of these families.

“We’re proud of this action by the Legislature, and look forward to seeing it through the process and on to the Governor’s desk to help us build a provider infrastructure in Oklahoma that is sorely lacking today.”

A recent state pilot program provided families over $12,000 a year to obtain autism-related services, but much of the funds went unused due to the lack of trained Autism professionals in the state.

When enacted, this legislation will increase the number of trained specialists to treat autism spectrum disorders while allowing the open market to adjust coverage based on the demand of services.

“The best thing we can do for these families today is to make more trained professionals available to their children,” said President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee. “Too many families have to leave the state to access trained professional assistance. We’re assuring these families they can obtain the help without having to leave home.”

House Bill 2027 includes the following provisions:

• Establish a state license for national Board Certified Behavioral Analysts and create a professional standard for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).

• Increase training for the evaluation and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders.

• Enhance Sooner Start by providing professional training for the treatment of children with autism spectrum disorders. Sooner Start is an early intervention and treatment program for children with disabilities and developmental delays age birth to three.

• Secure funding for an ABA Research Project to provide supervision to college students seeking licensure, quantify the effects of applied behavioral analysis and offer parental training and support.

• Provide intensive early intervention for more children by replicating Early Foundations. Early Foundations is an autism treatment and outreach model that offers behavioral intervention through trained providers.

For more information contact:
Sen. Justice's Office: 405-521-5537

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