New Bill Fast Tracks Behavioral Services for Individuals with Autism

Assembly Bill 1074 FastTrack’s Behavioral Services to Improve Services for Individuals with Autism

Governor Brown signs Assembly Bill 1074 updates California’s autism mandate providing for clinical case management, removes the requirement for professionals to be vendored by state regional centers and lifts experience requirement for paraprofessionals.
California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 1074, a bill authored by Assembly Member Brian Maienschein (R- San Diego) and co-sponsored by California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA) and the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD). The bill received overwhelming support from both the California Assembly and Senate....   more

In addition to technical changes, AB 1074 removes the requirement for autism treatment professionals to be vendored with a state regional center and clarifies that evidence-based autism treatment includes clinical case management. Additionally, the bill removes a 6-month experience requirement for paraprofessionals who work one-to-one with individuals affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a requirement that has limited the capacity of California’s autism treatment providers to meet the needs of California’s autism community.
Many families impacted by autism appreciate the need for service providers to have more flexibility making it possible to swiftly serve families in need, especially those seeking early intervention services. Families with older children remember the days when untrailed staff were labeled paraprofessionals and deployed to provide critical ABA services.  Because these guidelines where initially put in place to protect those affected by ASD, there is concern about the quality of care as guidelines are loosened and paraprofessionals are no longer required to have 6 months of prior experience to work one of one with an individual affected by ASD.
California is home to more autism treatment providers than any other state; yet, individuals diagnosed with ASD often encounter delays and waiting lists when seeking medically necessary treatment.
“When my son was diagnosed 17 years ago service providers sent untrained or undertrained staff in an effort to meet the explosive demand. I remember a 19-year-old tennis coach showing up to our home. She possessed no understanding of individuals with autism, and her only training was 1 day in a single ABA styled table top activity drilling a child on colors. These sessions were unproductive, a waste of taxpayer dollars and critical development time in my son's life. It is exciting to know so many people today are working to improve the systems of care for individuals with autism, and I embrace the progress. We will know in time if these changes to AB 1074 increase the number of working paraprofessionals and still ensure each child – including those in underserved communities – is receiving the evidence-based programs they deserve” said Donna Ross-Jones Author of Autismdaybyday,  Co-Founder Special Needs Network.
 “I’m gratified to have had the opportunity to increase access to treatment for individuals affected by autism. This bill clarifies California’s autism mandate to ensure behavioral health providers are not hindered by outdated requirements,” said Assembly Member Maienschein.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in every 68 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with ASD, with one in 42 boys and one in 189 girls diagnosed. These 2014 figures represent a 30 percent increase since 2008. As the prevalence of ASD has increased, services for individuals with ASD have not always kept pace with demand. The increase in autism diagnoses and the lack of resources leaves some families struggling to access the services that are crucial to their child’s development.

"On behalf of our membership and the thousands of families they serve, we are grateful to Assembly Member Brian Maienschein for his leadership on this issue. The language included in AB 1074 will remove unnecessary barriers for providers and provide increased access to care for the vulnerable population receiving crucial behavioral health treatments," said Matt McAlear, executive director of CalABA.


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