Revision of HR 31 SR 33

Passed Iowa Legislature

May 2001 as HR 42 and SR 43


A Resolution urging the Iowa Department of Educationís program, Regional Autism Services Program, to continue compiling and maintaining yearly records regarding individuals with autism and related disorders.

WHEREAS, autism is a developmental disorder that typically affects a personís ability to communicate, form relationships with others, and respond appropriately to the environment; and

WHEREAS, some people with autism are relatively high-functioning, with communicative speech and intelligence a strength for a small percentage, others may be non-verbal, and have cognitive delays ranging from mild to more severe. All appear to have difficulties with social interaction to some degree and often exhibit a narrow repertoire of interests and activities, showing repetitive behaviors and rigid patterns of thinking that interfere with learning.

WHEREAS, the medical diagnosis of autism is made when a specified number of characteristics listed in the DSM-IV or ICD-9, diagnostic tools, are present, in ranges perhaps similar to significantly below the childís age; and diagnosis usually occurs between the ages of three and five; and

WHEREAS, there are other pervasive developmental disabilities including, Rettís Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Aspergerís Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, each category of symptoms creates an individualized set of social, learning, and behavioral differences; and

WHEREAS, while there are no known specific causes of these pervasive developmental disorders, some research suggests that causes might include physical problems affecting those parts of the brain that process language and information received through the senses, imbalances of certain chemicals in the brain, and genetic factors; autism may also results from a combination of several causes, but factors in the psychological environmental of the child do not cause autism; and

WHEREAS, autism and associated disorders affect as many as one in 500 individuals, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of 1997; autism is four times more prevalent in boys than girls and knows no racial, ethnic, or social boundaries, and family income, lifestyle, and educational levels do not affect the chance of autism's occurrence; and

WHEREAS, the autism prognosis is variable from independent to various levels of supported living and work and may be further compromised by associated conditions including seizure disorder, mental retardation, Down Syndrome, genetic disorders such as Fragile X, Landau-Kleffner Syndrome, Williamsís Syndrome, or Touretteís Syndrome; and

WHEREAS, caring for and educating children and adults with autism and related disorders often require a considerable dedication of emotional and financial resources by parents, caretakers, schools, community providers or community organizations; and

WHEREAS, to ensure that planning for the welfare and development of persons with autism and related disorders is more meaningful, need exists for the Regional Autism Services Program, a program supported by School Laws of Iowa through the Iowa Department of Education, continue to collect data on the estimated overall number of individuals with autism spectrum disorders in the educational arena, supported by Part C and Part B services; NOW THEREFORE,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES; that the Iowa Department Education, Bureau of Children, Family, and Community Services program supporting children with autism spectrum disorders and their families, known as The Regional Autism Services Program, shall continue to count children and youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ages 0-3 years and ages 3-22 years in order to link them to specialized support services which meet their learning, communication, social, and behavioral needs. With this count provided by AEA Autism Resource Teams to The Regional Autism Services Program, both sub total Area Education Agency boundaries and state totals will be collected yearly, to support the on-going need for support services including the current educational strategies and alternative medical treatments.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That upon adoption, the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives shall send a copy of this Resolution to Representatives Leonard L. Boswell, Greg Ganske, Tom Latham, Jim Leach, and Jim Nussle.