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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

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For Immediate Release: May 5, 2009

Sen. Ron Justice
Sen. Ron Justice

Justice's Autism Bill Signed into Law
Author Says Measure Will Provide Relief for Oklahoman Families

Relief is on the way for Oklahoma families dealing with autism after the Governor signed Senate Bill 135, by Sen. Ron Justice, into law Monday. The measure 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.

“We found after a recent state pilot program that our state’s shortage of trained providers has made it difficult for these families to get autism services, even when they have financial assistance,” said Justice. “This bill will help address that problem and give families dealing with this disorder more options for treatment.”

SB 135 provides for the enactment of a licensing process for national Board Certified Behavioral Analysts as well as the enhancement of existing state programs to train doctors in autism diagnosis and treatment.

“Every step we can take towards early detection and treatment of autism spectrum disorders will greatly benefit those with autism and their families,” said Justice. “This is the first step in that effort. In the long run, early intervention and proper treatment will reduce the costs associated with autism, and will help Oklahoma’s youth with this disorder be able to reach their full God-given potential.”

Under the bill, the University Hospitals Authority (UHA) will also establish a program modeled after Early Foundations, an outreach program that provides early intensive behavioral intervention for children with autism. The UHA will establish the program in a county where an Early Foundations program does not currently exist.

The new law will go into effect November 1, 2009.

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

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