VIDEO – Alexa presents her message of conscience about autism
Autism Delaware will celebrate Smart Cookie Day on April 19 by visiting the General Assembly in the Legislative Room, giving autism advocates the opportunity to share their personal stories with their elected representatives.
They will deliver cookies in appreciation for their support, and will appeal for new legislation that advocates say is designed to improve the lives of those on the autism spectrum.
The "main role of the organization is to facilitate families to talk with legislators". Lawmakers get smart cookies to support families with autism, "said Teresa Avery, executive director of Autism Delaware.
Three laws will be highlighted during the visit.
House Bill 292 provides expanded resources for teachers who support students With autism, the legislation updates legal language not addressed since the early eighties, and creates a pilot program that recognizes and begins to fund the need for specialized technical assistance and staff training for teachers in all school districts.
Bill 104 mandates an increase in fees paid to service providers for adults with disabilities, these services were fully funded for the last time in 2005. Since then, payment by direct support professionals has not kept pace, according to Autism Delaware.
"Problems arise to attract qualified DSPs, and the turnover rate is high", and the legislation "will raise rates to more appropriate levels gradually over three years," said an Autism Delaware press release.
House Bill 12 allocates funds for basic special education in kindergarten through third grade.
"Currently, special intensive and complex education is being funded for these grades, but basic funding for special education applies only from fourth to twelfth grade," Autism Delaware wrote in a press release.
If House Bill 12 is enacted, special education funds from kindergarten through third grade will be phased in over four years.
For more information, visit AutismDelaware.org, call the Autism Delaware Family Services Director Annalisa Ekbladh at 302-224-6020 or send an email to Ann alisa.Ekbladh@delautism.org