Autism Speaks recognizes California Assemblywoman as a champion for the autism community

January 12, 2024
California Assemblymember Blanca Rubio receiving puzzle piece shaped Public Service Award

Autism Speaks is proud to recognize California Assemblymember Blanca Rubio with our Public Service Award, for her steady and persistent leadership on legislation to improve the state’s transition planning process for autistic and other special education students. Transition planning is a required component of individualized education plans (IEPs) nationwide. Through this process, students work with their families and school support teams to decide what they want to do after high school and how to get there, preparing for the highest possible degree of independence.

In 2023, Autism Speaks sponsored and Assemblymember Rubio authored AB 438, which will help thousands of California students in the coming years begin transition planning earlier. The bill sets the standard kickoff timing as freshman year, instead of the current requirement of age 16. An earlier start in this important process can mean a great difference in students’ adult lives, in areas such as employment, higher education, housing, services and quality of life.

After shepherding the bill through several important legislative steps, including passage by the full Assembly, Rubio worked in the interim on amendments with Governor Newsom’s office to ensure its acceptability for final passage into law. AB 438 is currently on the Senate floor, with plans to send to the governor’s office later this month.


Photograph: Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (left) & Melissa Cortez, representing Autism Speaks (right)