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Maryland: Governor appoints first state autism coordinator

Dec 9, 2021, Baltimore Fishbowl: Maryland appoints first statewide autism coordinator https://baltimorefishbowl.com/stories/maryland-appoints-first-statewide-autism-coordinator/

The Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives yesterday appointed Katie Gandy as Maryland’s first statewide autism coordinator. In the new position, Gandy will work to initiate, develop, and implement services for Marylanders with autism and their caregivers. Gandy will also develop a plan for addressing autism-related needs in healthcare, housing, employment, and identification and intervention. The state’s autism coordinator will also serve as the chairman of the state’s Advisory Stakeholder Group on Autism-Related Needs. “This new position will enhance outreach and education about autism in Maryland,” said Steven McAdams, the office’s executive director, in a statement. … “I am excited to begin this new role and begin to build effective, wraparound resources for all Marylanders with autism, their families, and caregivers,” Gandy said in a statement. “Maryland will remain a leader in autism education, therapy, interventions, and resources,” she said. In Maryland, autism rates among 8-year-old children are up by 6.5 percent, according to a report by the CDC and researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The report found that the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder among 8-year-old children in Maryland was 1 in 49 in 2018, compared to 1 in 52 in 2016. Researchers suggest that the rise in autism rates may be due to increased awareness around the condition. The autism coordinator position was created last year under a bill signed into law by Gov. Hogan.