2 new laws in NY will assist people with autism, other developmental disabilities

Staff Reports Posted 30 August 2018 at 9:08 am

State Sen Robert Ortt, chairman of the Senate’s Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, is praising the passage of two laws that will assist people with autism and other developmental disabilities.

One of the new laws requires the state to establish new screening guidelines for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children under four years old. Screening is a way to detect a disorder, such as autism, before the onset of symptoms. Previously, there had been no standardized screening approach for the early identification of autism, Ortt said.

Recent studies indicate that early detection and treatment have proven to be highly beneficial for the well-being of children who are on the autism spectrum, and thanks to this legislation, established and consistent screening guidelines will now be in place, he said.

“This will make certain that all parents and children, regardless of where they are tested, receive the most effective and beneficial methods that medical providers have to offer,” Ortt said.

The second new law creates a new optional identification card to help improve communication with people who have developmental disabilities. The new optional identification cards can be given to law enforcement or other first responders in an emergency and convey important details, such as potential difficulties with interpersonal communication or physical contact, or an inability to respond verbally, as well as additional contact information.

“Creation of an official document with consistent language, appearance, and application standards will improve the ability of individuals with developmental disabilities across the state to effectively communicate important information about their diagnoses,” Ortt said.

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