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***Connecticut: 'Substantial rise' in ASD students; fears over future after high school

Feb 20, 2019, Meriden, CT, My Record Journal: Connecticut lawmakers concerned about services for young adults with autism http://www.myrecordjournal.com/News/State/Lawmakers-concerned-about-services-for-young-adults-with-autism.html The General Assembly is considering several bills aimed at improving services for people with autism as they leave school and enter early adulthood. A 2017 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that nearly 500,000 students with autism nationwide will be leaving schools next year, and local advocates warn Connecticut isn’t ready for the transition. “Folks are aging out of our school systems at an alarming rate,” said Leslie Simoes, executive director of the Autism Spectrum Resource Center of Connecticut, which is located in Wallingford. “Connecticut spends a ton of money in special education in the school systems, but at 21, (people with autism) sit at home, doing nothing, isolated.” One bill would mandate school districts provide special education services to age 21, or when the student graduates high school. Other proposals include allowing school districts to begin transitional services for students at age 14, down from 16, and tax incentives for employers to hire individuals with autism. … ARC of Connecticut wrote to the Public Safety Committee. She said the “substantial rise in the overall number of individuals who have ASD (autism spectrum disorder)” make the training “essential” for emergency personnel. While autism diagnoses continue to rise, Abercrombie agreed that the bigger problem is the pending spike in the number of students with autism becoming too old for school-based programs. …