Wednesday, August 01, 2007

House Bill Calls for Autism Education Task Force

Rep. John Yarmuth, a first-term Kentucky Democrat in Congress, filed a bill that would assign a task force to "identify and disseminate evidence-based educational strategies and promising best practices" for autistic children in kindergarten through grade 12. Filed June 7, the bill is H.R. 2609, entitled "Empowering Children with Autism through Education Act of 2007."

You can read a July 30 press release about the bill here. “The number of children diagnosed with autism is escalating at an alarming rate,” Yarmuth said in his statement. “Yet, our methods of working with these children have failed to adequately address the challenges confronting them. This legislation will lead to solutions that ensure all children get a quality education and realize their vast potential.”

The text of the bill does not identify any particular method of educating children with autism spectrum disorders, apparently leaving that to the task force to identify them. The Education Secretary would be responsible for appointing the task force, and the bill's initial language would assign it to do identify and spread the word about about these educational strategies and best practices. The task force would also report to Congress about:
      (1) Learning models, interventions, and services that demonstrate improvements in reading, writing, and math proficiency for individuals with autism.
      (2) The cost-effectiveness of these learning models, interventions, and services, and their applicability for local education agencies.
      (3) Professional development needs of educators who serve individuals with autism.
      (4) Methods for incorporating State-, local- and community-based programs and services into the classroom to provide comprehensive support for individuals with autism.
      (5) Identification of barriers to successful implementation of programs and services related to the education of and provision of services to children with autism and recommendations to address those barriers.
      (6) Dissemination of findings to Congress, all relevant agencies, and States and United States territories to improve the quality of learning for individuals with autism.
You can find full text of the bill at, which is the official website of Congress. Search under bill number H.R. 2609.

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