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Michigan autism plan calls for 11 areas of improvement

Michigan lawmakers will again consider requiring insurance companies to cover autism treatment.

The Michigan Department of Community Health released its autism plan today

According to the plan, Michigan lacks a variety of critical services to support individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled ASD:

an “urgent public health concern” as the prevalence rate increased across the country to one in 88 children. It is imperative to understand the long-term implications of the identified needs of individuals with ASD given the major fiscal crisis if they do not receive adequate services.

The MDCH released the following recommendations to address the state’s weaknesses:

1. Create Autism Council focused on the implementation, monitoring, and updating of the state plan to ensure that the key recommendations become reality for individuals with ASD and their families.

2. Establish a Michigan Resource Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders and Related Disabilities which will serve as an information and resource clearinghouse and to assist in accessing and navigating related programs and services.

3. Coordinate Service and Statewide Infrastructure.  Establish standards of practice to be used by all agencies that function in a lead service coordination role.

4. Regional Collaboratives: Expand existing regional partnerships to promote communication, collaboration, and coordination efforts across all agencies, organizations, and key stakeholders.

5. Increase Early Screening, Evaluation, and Intervention for Young Children with ASD

6. Develop and Share Best Practices and Service Navigation Guidelines

7. Increase Crisis Intervention Capabilities

8. Expand Training and Professional Development

9. Increase University Collaboration and Coordination

10. Create Centralized Data system for identifying the needs and outcomes of individuals with ASD in the state to assist state agencies in policy and service planning across the lifespan.

11. Review/Update State Plan in three years to measure progress and establish future goals.

- Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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