2022 Florida Advocacy WinsMay 23, 2022
We were proud to support several efforts during this year’s legislative session to expand access to services and reliable information for people with autism in Florida. We pledge to continue advocating for these laws’ proper implementation and will continue to fight for new policies that improve the lives of people with autism across the spectrum and throughout the life span.
New law expands access to special education supports
All students with developmental delays will now be eligible for public special education programs through age 9 or second grade, whichever comes first. Under previous state law, the upper age limit for identifying a student as having a developmental delay was age 5 which means that special education support could be cut off once a student turned 5 years old. This was unacceptable considering that 30% of children with autism are not even diagnosed by age 8. The new law expands access to personalized special education support for more students during some of their most critical developmental years.
New law increases access to in-school behavioral therapy
Behavior technicians will now be included in the list of medical providers with access to serve patients while they are in school. Under previous law, this level of patient access was limited to Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), state licensed speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists and clinical social workers. This change will help increase collaboration between public and private instructional personnel and the generalization of school-aged patients’ skills.
New resource for autism insurance information
On April 12, the Florida Department of Financial Services launched a new autism spectrum disorder website. Navigating the health insurance landscape is difficult for even the most knowledgeable consumers so this website provides resources and assistance for individuals with autism and their families to aid them in the process. It includes information on what insurance benefits are available in Florida, how those benefits vary depending on the type of health insurance policy, and much more.