News: Maryland ISO autism coordinator

Will the legislation creating the position serve as a model?

The governor’s office for the US state of Maryland is searching for an individual to lead the state’s autism initiatives. Among other duties, the person filling this position is expected to “(1) identify and evaluate existing services for individuals with autism and their families; (2) develop a strategic plan for addressing autism-related needs by July 1, 2021; (3) identify national benchmarks and other performance measures; and (4) monitor and evaluate the implementation of the strategic plan and the success of the State in addressing autism-related needs.” 

The position was created by legislation passed in 2020. In the legislation, HB 847, the position is called “State Coordinator for Autism Strategy in the Department of Disabilities.” The legislation also provided > $25 million for activities overseen by the coordinator.  

I have high hopes that this initiative will help coordinate community services for individuals with autism and their families. Although the advisory committee (“Stakeholder Group”) for this initiative includes the state superintendent of schools, there is no mention of special education in a summary of the bill; I hope there is a plan for coordination between community and school services—there is mention of transition services—especially as this legislation may become something of a model for other states. 

Resources

  • Announcement from MD Gov. Larry Hogan’s office

  • Legislation establishing MD State Coordinator for Autism Strategy and Advisory Stakeholder Group on Autism–Related Need

  • Legislative notes regarding the legislation

  • Local CBS news report about the announcement

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