Autism Waiver for California

To: Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the California State General Assembly Individuals and families living with autism and autism spectrum disorder(ASD) need Medical-Medicaid waiver services to provide educational, behavioral, medical, and social services that promote economic and social independence, and make it possible for many individuals to remain with their own families rather than be forced into institutions. As of today, there are only a handful of states that have the Autism Waiver Form: Maryland, Indiana, Wisconson, Colorado, Florida, South Carolina (the most recent addition), and now Texas has started its process. Many children and adults in California qualifiy for such services, but due to the rapidly growing numbers of children being diagnosed with autism, the Department of Disability Services, California Department of Education, and the public school system cannot meet the diverse and varied needs of these individuals. They create Special Day Class (SDC) which are cookie cutter. The DDS, CDE and public school system has limited resources and monies, which has resulted in our current desperate situation where Local Education Agencies (LEAs), State Education Agencies(SEAs), and Regional Centers are controlling the service delivery model, restricting the more highly-sought-after intensive ABA programs and services to an elitist group of children: the higher functioning children who come from dual-parent homes, who possess at least two years of college, and where English is the primary spoken language. In addition, the child is required to go through an application/referral/waiting-list process through which the child is chosen for acceptance into ABA agencies as long as the child meets the rigid criteria. Failure to meet agency and program criteria will result in rejection from the program, and/or ejection from the agency services. In order for the child to remain in the program, he or she must meet the rigid continuance criteria every 90 days. This long standing service delivery model, which evolved from an autism research project in Los Angeles, and the central valley region, is a form of discrimination against many children who need intensive programs and services, but have been placed on years-long waiting lists necessitated by insufficient funding, and self-serving agendas of powerful agencies. The signers of this petition, who include individuals with autism as well as family members, relatives, educators, care providers, neighbors and friends of children and adults with autism, declare that they strongly support a California Autism Waiver similar to Maryland state and others. Gov. Schwarzenegger, we need your support to implement legislation that will require health insurance coverage of evidence-based interventions and services for children and adults living with autism and ASD. Sincerely, Parents, caregivers, families, and friends of individuals affected by Autism

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