Autism Awareness Month; The Need for Systemic Change
Teresa Anderson, MPH
In light of recent events involving the
arrest and detention of a 10-year old boy with autism the need for
systemic change across schools, the judicial system and law enforcement
has once again been demonstrated. Unfortunately as an advocacy
organization serving people with intellectual and developmental
disabilities (I/DD) the details of this particular incident are all too
familiar and could essentially be clipped out of the arresting officers
incident report and placed in a number of others virtually unchanged.
The systems failed this child, as has occurred for many children with
I/DD, at several points throughout the experience. No question that
outrage is the initial response but what happens after the outrage for
one child, one family or one incident wears off? Hopefully a deeper look
at the systems that failed, how they failed, why they failed and what
changes can be made to prevent these traumas from continuing.
A brief description of this particular
incident begins with a child with autism communicating through
disruptive behavior and school personnel not having adequate resources
(training, support, administrative policies) to respond to the
individual needs of the child and his family. The school personnel
response resulted in law enforcement involvement in behavior management
for a 10 year old - law enforcement conducted a threat assessment
and determined the student was low-risk. Nothing changed, the child
stayed in the same "educational" environment, communicated with the same
disruptive behavior toward the same paraprofessional and the school
personnel and the family interaction was minimal. Eventually due to
disruptive behavior a 10 year old child was expelled from school (system
failure), the paraprofessional pressed charges reporting the child
"scratched, kicked and punched" him.
The paraprofessional pressed charges
against the child stating: "he has had plenty of opportunities to change
his behavior and he has not." Following policy and procedure the
Deputy in the case sent a Take and Hold warrant to the State Attorney's
Office, which was approved (another system failure). Then the warrant
went to the Judge's Office and was approved and sent to the Sheriff's
Office for service (another system failure). Months later, the child was
asked to return to the campus for testing. Once there he struggled to
maintain his behavior during the testing so his mother suggested they
leave. The school alerted the Deputy that the child was on campus and
given the warrant was still active he was arrested. The paraprofessional
attempted to drop the charges after the arrest stating: "I pressed
charges in order to get the ball rolling to get his mother to realize he
needs additional help." [partial statement] To read the details of this case visit the links below:
Given the magnitude of systemic change
that is needed and the lives that are impacted by rigid one-size fits
all policies and protocols it is clear that a great deal of work still
needs to be done to increase awareness. What is all too often lost is
that individuals with autism (and other I/DD) are at greater risk for
injustice because so many of the people they interact with daily -
teachers, co-workers, law enforcement, medical personnel, community
businesses, etc. - are not aware of their unique needs or how to respond
in different situations. For more information on increasing awareness
of autism for teachers, law enforcement, judicial systems, health care
providers, emergency responders, etc. visit:
This Wednesday, April 26th, the
California Assembly Budget Sub-Committee on Health & Human Services
will discuss a proposal which is a top priority for The Arc of
California and developmental disability advocates throughout the state.
Currently, the state spends more than
$500 million on the remaining developmental centers, including services
for the residents, staff, and maintaining the facilities. When the
developmental centers close in the next few years we don't want to see
that money absorbed into the state's general fund, instead we want the
money to be kept in our system and spent on community services. That
amount of money would be a lifesaver for community service providers
that are continuously challenged by inadequate reimbursement rates, and
would make a significant difference for people with intellectual and
developmental disabilities and their families.
The Lanterman Coalition, including 24 statewide
organizations representing people with I/DD in California, has made this
issue one of our top priorities. As Chair of the Coalition I will be
speaking at a press conference this Wednesday before the hearing, as
well as to the legislators in the committee hearing.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
SHOW UP AT THE STATE CAPITOL:
What: Press Conference with legislators
Where: West steps of the Capitol
Why: To show support in numbers for the
press conference (if you would like to speak at the press conference
and tell your story then please contact Jordan Lindsey at email@example.com).
What: Committee budget hearing
Where: Room 444 in the Capitol
Why: To tell your story to legislators why funding for community services needs to be increased.
CALL THE LEGISLATORS:
If you are unable to attend in person
then please call the office of the Committee members below and say:
Funding for developmental disability services needs to be increased, and
the existing funding for developmental centers should be kept in our
system to support those community services.
Dr. Joaquin Arambula, Chair of Budget sub 1 on Health & Human Services, Capitol Office, (916) 319-2031
Assemblyman Matthew Harper (Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach), (916) 319-2074
Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (Azusa, Glendora, West Covina), (916) 319-2048
Assemblyman Jim Wood (Santa Rosa, Eureka, Shasta), (916) 319-2002
LANTERMAN COALITION OPPOSES AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT
Letter Sent To California Congressional Delegation
Lanterman Coalition, consisting of 24 statewide organizations
representing Californians with intellectual and developmental
disabilities, opposes the American Health Care Act. To view the letter
The Arc and other coalition members signed on to, click here.
NEW PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT GRANT FROM STATE COUNCIL ON DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES
Tim Hornbecker, Director of Advocacy and Community Organizing
More Advocacy and More Often!
I attended a fundraising auction this
last weekend for an incredible non-profit providing Health Care around
the world. The mantra for the evening, as with all charitable auctions,
"Bid High and Bid Often!" So this week is your opportunity for more advocacy and on two days! If you can't come to Sacramento, heed our Public Policy Director Greg deGiere's request for you to at least make phone calls.
Greg has sent you an Action Alert from The Arc and United Cerebral Palsy California Collaboration to attend the Wednesday April 26th Press Conference with legislators (1:30 PM) and the 2:30 PM Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
We want the over $500 million saved by the eventual closure of our
State of California Developmental Centers to help pay for adequate and
inclusive services for those former residents and those already in the
community with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities!
But the day before, on Tuesday, April 25this Gamaliel of California's Second Annual Legislative Day.
The Arc of California collaborates with Gamaliel to provide Community
Organizing and Advocacy training for our self advocates and family
members statewide, in order to better tell their stories and become
community leaders. The Arc of California has gone outside the disability
organizations to get other non-profits, Unions (Amalgamated Transit
Union and SEIU), Education Associations, Health and Senior Services and
Religious Groups to join forces with us for a louder voice and more
See below the Gamaliel of California's schedule for April 25th.
Their members will be advocating for better housing and transportation
for low income families, seniors and people with disabilities. We will
be visiting legislators with them, also asking for increased funding in
order to pay for the rising minimum wage mandates (support AB 279) and
saving that $500 million for people with developmental disabilities!
This year's convention will be held at theSheraton San Diego Hotel & Marinaa
in San Diego, CA on November 1-4, 2017.
with disabilities, their families, chapters of The Arc staff and
volunteers, and others in our field and the business community need
innovative solutions that will fuel our motivation and spark our spirit
for collaboration. We are looking for knowledgeable, experienced
Expertise in critical issues important to people with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.
in fields and environments outside the disability community that
highlight light novel perspectives and strategies that may translate.
A proven track record of presenting at national/international meetings in an engaging and interactive manner.
ability to deliver information to a diverse audience including people
with I/DD, families, professionals, business leaders and members of
boards of directors.
you have the passion to educate and energize the over 700 individuals
who enthusiastically carry out our mission and values every day we
invite you to submit a proposal to speak at The Arc's National
Don't delay - all proposals must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, April 21, 2017.
begin, either create a new account or login below if you already have
an account. You may return to your submission page to make changes until
the deadline for the call closes on Friday, April 21st at 11:59 pm
If you have any questions, please contact Kerry Mauger at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Arc will contact you by May 22nd to inform you about the status of your submission.
The Great Recession and the resulting
state revenue slump were catastrophic to many different services for
people with intellectual and all developmental disabilities. Special
education was no exception, as schools laid off the skilled teachers
needed for this vital service.
Special education has had a
particularly difficult time recovering from the hits it took. Even
though much of the state funding has been restored, many of the laid-off
teachers now have retired or moved on to other jobs, leaving a severe
shortage of special ed teachers.
We've been supporting a wide variety of
bills to correct this special-ed teacher shortage. Last week we
testified for one particularly innovative bill that goes after one of
California's biggest problems with recruiting and retaining teachers -
the cost of housing
Assembly Bill 45
by Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, himself a former special-ed teacher,
will create a California School Employee Housing Assistance Grant
Program. The California Housing Finance Agency will lend money to school
districts to develop affordable rental housing for teachers and other
AB 45 passed the Assembly Education Committee 5-2 with our support last week.
In a tight budget year, the bill's prospect for final passage later this year are uncertain.
By the Center for Business Innovative Research (CBIR)
The following grant opportunity postings were made on the Grants.gov Find Opportunities service:
Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act Board for People with
Disabilities is now seeking Investment Consultant Services. All
interested in responding to this Request for Proposals ("RFP") may find
it on the Cal E-Procure website. Please search for the RFP using Event IE: 4330.
Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Adminis Grants to Expand Substance Abuse Treatment
Capacity in Family treatment Drug Courts [Short Title: Family Treatment
Drug Courts (FTDCs)] Synopsis 1
Arc of California posts job announcements in the Career Ladder section
every week because we would like to contribute to steering quality
candidates to professional positions that support people with
disabilities and we are trying to communicate to Direct Support
Professionals that there is a real "career ladder" in their chosen
Legislative Director position is based in Sacramento and is part of the
team responsible for DRC's legislative activities in California. The
position reports to the Advocacy Director. The Legislative Director
provides overall direction to DRC's public policy activities with the
goal of increasing DRC's legislative presence. The position supervises
The Arc California 1225 8th Street, Suite 350 Sacramento, CA 95814 916.552.6619
Advocates for people with intellectual and all other developmental disabilities and their families since 1950.