(NASHVILLE) — This week, Republican lawmakers — led by House Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville) — unanimously passed legislation to establish a long-term system of care for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.
House Bill 384 creates the Tennessee Council on Autism Spectrum Disorder. This 16-person advisory council will make recommendations and provide leadership in program development related to matters concerning all levels of ASD services in health care, education, and other adult, adolescent, and children’s services.
Autism’s most-obvious signs tend to appear between 2 and 3 years of age. In some cases, it can be diagnosed as early as 18 months. The Autism Society currently estimates that about one percent of the world population has ASD, affecting over 3.5 million Americans, and one in every sixty-eight children. The organization also notes that Autism Spectrum Disorder is the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States.
“Many of us know someone whose life has been impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder,” said Representative Williams. “This legislation guarantees that Tennesseans with autism have the critical resources they need in order to lead healthy and productive lives. It also offers their families a support system that will help them cope when a loved one is diagnosed.”
The full text of House Bill 384 can be accessed by visiting the Tennessee General Assembly website at: http://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/apps/BillInfo/Default.aspx?BillNumber=HB0384&ga=110
Ryan Williams serves as the House Republican Caucus Chairman. He is also a member of the House Finance, Ways & Means Committee and Subcommittee, as well as the House Government Operations, House Health, and the House Calendar & Rules Committees. Williams lives in Cookeville and represents House District 42, which includes a portion of Putnam County. He can be reached by email at: Rep.Ryan.Williams@capitol.tn.gov or by calling (615) 741-1875.