The state of Michigan on Monday unveiled a plan to address the needs of residents with autism.
The Michigan Department of Community Health released the Michigan Autism Spectrum Disorders State Plan, which calls for more early screening, better training for primary care providers, a state information clearinghouse and more, according to Michigan Radio.
[What do you think about the plan? Leave a comment or click here to blog about Autism Spectrum Disorders on White Lake-Highland Patch!]
"Today marks another significant day for Michigan and our efforts to help families and individuals with autism," Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said. "It was an honor to sign the autism insurance legislation last year and I'm glad to see that our efforts have not stopped there. We have a great opportunity in front of us with this plan. I'm eager to see the progress Michigan will continue to make."
Calley, who has a daughter with autism, signed a bill in 2012 that mandates insurance companies provide autism treatment coverage for children, according to The Detroit News.
The Michigan Department of Community Health has not laid out a time line for when the plan will be implemented, the newspaper reported, but many in the community were enthusiastic about the news, which drew some "Likes" and comments on the White Lake-Highland Patch Facebook page.
"It's about time," Stephanie Bremenour wrote on the Facebook page. "My 26 year-old brother has autism and my mom had to fight so hard to get him the resources he needed, which never was enough."
"Yes, these families need and deserve all the help they can get," Kimberly Spencer Combs wrote. "Early Intervention definitely impacts the outcome for these kids."
Other residents questioned the need for more research into the cause of Autism, including genetically modified foods or GMO's.
"GMO's," Melissa Grant wrote. "The food supply is askewed. Research that! Guaranteed that is the cause."
The plan will address the needs of 16,000 students with ASD in Michigan public schools and 50,000 individuals living with ASD throughout the state, a State of Michigan press release said.
Autism Spectrum Disorders – which include autism, Asperger syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder and Rett syndrome – are neurological impairments that cause social, communication and behavioral challenges, the Michigan Autism Program says. One in 88 children in the United States falls on the spectrum, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Visit michigan.gov/autism to learn more.