2007-12-28 / News

Long is vice-chairman of autism study group

State Representative Bruce J. Long (R-Jamestown, Middletown) has been named vice-chairman of a special house commission charged with addressing the educational needs of the rapidly growing number of children with autism.

The commission, created last June by House Resolution 6501, held its first meeting on Dec.19.

According to Long, the state needs to establish a uniform policy for dealing with rising rates of autism.

"One of the problems is a lack of consistency in diagnosing and delivering an appropriate educational standard for these children," Long said.

"Given the dramatic rise in the number of children annually diagnosed with autism and the challenges associated with educating them, I believe the creation of this commission will send a message that we are going to do everything we can to develop the necessary resources for these children, their families, and the educators charged with teaching them," he added.

Long also said that he would like the commission to hold a hearing in Jamestown.

"I am proud to say that Jamestown has a model program for educating children with autism, and we will look to see what they are doing and then develop some recommendations that can be used statewide. I have requested that the commission come to Jamestown and hold a public hearing where those with an interest can contribute to our efforts," continued Long.

The commission will be holding its next meeting at the State House in late January, and is expected to hold other meetings in different communities throughout the state. Long will be introducing legislation in January to extend the reporting date on the commission's findings until January 2009 and the commission will be adding additional members.

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