The Delaware Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 93, which establishes the Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism at the Center for Disability Studies.

The Delaware Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 93, which establishes the Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism at the Center for Disability Studies.

The bill is awaiting Gov. Jack Markell’s signature. It was sponsored by Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-2nd Dist., and Rep. Earl G. Jaques, D-27th Dist.

With $500,000 in spending approved for fiscal year 2017, the network represents one of two new money line items passed by the Delaware General Assembly this session.

The need for a statewide autism resource center was established five years ago after a comprehensive community assessment, which led to a statewide planning initiative undertaken by a task force. The stakeholders included families of those with autism, the Department of Education, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, DHSS’s Division of Developmental Disabilities Services, the University of Delaware’s Center for Disabilities Studies and Autism Delaware.

The published report, “Blueprint for Collective Action,” explained the need for improvement in some areas. Those included early identification, diagnosis and educational classification; pre-professional training; self-determination, self-advocacy and social network development; transition to adult life; family support and stakeholder engagement; and systems coordination;

The report also called training and technical assistance to be provided through the statewide autism resource center.

For information, visit udel.edu/cds.