North Carolina needs to continue its public investments to ensure quality, accountable service and support systems that focus on community settings and make sure that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder achieve a good quality of life. Our state continues to have an extensive waiting list for services and supports, currently at 10,000 people with developmental disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder.
ASNC issues two-year policy targets to match up with the two-year legislative and budget cycle. We seek input on policy targets from community members, look at the legislative outlook, and decide which issues we will work on to create policy changes.
Here are our 2015-2017 targets:
1. North Carolina needs to ensure a high quality continuum of services and supports for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families across the lifespan, with a focus on community settings and ensuring that people with Autism Spectrum Disorder achieve a good quality of life. This includes access to early intervention; developmentally appropriate services, supports and interventions; health care; employment supports; and long-term care services.
- Eliminate or reduce waiting lists for community-based intellectual and/or developmental disability services (CAP/Innovations, B3 programs, state-funded services).
- Cover autism diagnosis and interventions for people with health insurance coverage.
- Expand access to autism-specific early intervention services.
- Expand autism training for law enforcement and first responders.
- Expand availability of adult and children’s services: residential, crisis, employment, health care, and autism services and supports.
2. The education system should be accessible to and better serve people with autism and other developmental disabilities. Students should have options that suit the unique needs of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Ban prone restraints and promote Positive Behavior Support programs in schools.
- Increase per student funding for special education.
- Increase autism-related training and professional development for teachers and other school staff.
- Ensure employment is an outcome of education services by improving IEPs and transition plans as well as access to vocational training, job experience, and post-secondary opportunities that meet individuals’ goals and aspirations.
3. North Carolina should develop policies and invest in services to ensure quality life outcomes for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities. Our public and private health-care system should support people in community settings, operate in a transparent fashion, be outcomes-focused, recognize the unique needs of people on the autism spectrum, and include self-advocates and families in the decision-making process.
- Integrate physical, mental, and developmental needs into the public and private health-care system while offering high quality, autism-specific services and supports.
- Address the needs of people with autism under Medicaid as NC considers new managed-care options.
- Focus the services system on person-centered outcomes.
- Improve the distribution of services across the state.
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