By ASHLEY COKER
A new state council focused on creating a “system of care” for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families met for the first time Wednesday.
The Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder is tasked with making life easier for families affected by autism and making program development recommendations for both children and adults affected by all levels of autism spectrum disorder.
The council is overseen by the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
“With the rates of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder rising, it’s important that we ensure we are focusing on how best to support Tennesseans with autism throughout the lifespan,” DIDD Commissioner Debra Payne said. “The voices on this council will play an important role in shaping policy to improve outcomes for thousands of children and adults.”
One in 68 children is affected by an autism spectrum disorder today, according to recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research.
The council is made-up of nine government employees, eight family members of individuals affected by autism and one self-advocate. It meets quarterly.
The creation of the council was passed by the Tennessee General Assembly during the 2017 legislative session.