Nevada Legislature Hears From Autism Advocates on 'Autism Day' - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Nevada Legislature Hears From Autism Advocates on 'Autism Day'

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April is National Autism Awareness Month and on Tuesday morning, members of the Nevada Legislature heard from autism advocates, service providers, and parents about the challenges they face.

"Across the state there are about 7,000 kids who need these services and we're hoping we can find ways working with the legislature to meet those needs,” said Brian Patchett, CEO of Easterseals Nevada, a service provider for those with disabilities. 

Assembly Bill 304 would change eligibility requirements for those seeking autism-related services.

Parents and advocates told members of the Assembly how important these services are for them to achieve their ultimate goal, which is seeing all people on the autism spectrum gain independence.

"All of those things are funded by Medicaid or private insurance and without such services our kids won't be able to become independent and survive in the world today,” said Janissa Macon, parent and autism advocate. 

One of the ways helping children with autism are schools such as the Newton Learning Center in Reno. They say their individual approach is what contributes to student's success and often times prepare them to assimilate into public school.

"It gives the students an opportunity to really grow and flourish in a safe environment,” said President of Newton Learning Center, Ira Gostin. 

Newton is a non-profit and non-public meaning they rely heavily on donations. They say passing the bill is all about giving parents as many options as possible so they can provide their child with the care that they need.

“[We are] helping them move forward so they can move on with their lives…we need the legislature's support to make that happen.”

No one in opposition attended Tuesday’s meeting, but the committee on Health and Human Services has a meeting this Friday to discuss the proposed bill and will have time for public comment.

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