Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Survey Response: Clare Collard, Candidate for Utah Senate 12

Clare Collard
Candidates for the November 2014 elections were given the opportunity to respond to a few questions relating to autism. The following responses are from Clare Collard, candidate for Utah Senate District 12.

Insurance Coverage:   SB57 was passed in the 2014 legislative session. It goes into effect on January 1, 2016, and among other things, will require individual and large group plans to cover a limited amount of behavioral therapy for autistic children through age 9. The bill has a sunset clause which will cause it to expire on January 1, 2019. 

Would you support renewal or expansion of SB57 if the costs prove to be manageable?

Clare Collard:
Of course, this is something these families need and it should be extended.

WanderingWandering (or elopement) is an issue that affects around half of children with ASD, as well as many people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are substantial costs involved with search efforts that often require emergency personnel. There are also promising technologies, such as smartphones, GPS, and Bluetooth, which can help with tracking these individuals. 

 Would you support efforts to:
  1. better understand the extent of the wandering problem in Utah
  2. promote training for emergency personnel
  3. identify technological solutions and help make them affordable for caregivers
Clare Collard 

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes.
  3. Yes.

Education: Education is a priority for many UAC members. Kids on the spectrum often require special education resources.

What do you see as the current state of the Utah education system, including Special Ed, and what steps would you support to improve it?

Clare Collard:
I have spoken to Special Educators and the one thing they tell me is that we do many things well but we need more funding. We also need more trained special educators and need to make sure that merit pay is compensated fairly. Another thing that would be helpful would be tuition reimbursement to aid these teachers in recertification and continuing education.

Housing and Employment: When autistic people transition out of the public school system, many of them need help with housing and employment. According to the 2013 Annual Report of the Utah Division of Services for People with Disabilities, Over 5,000 Utahns received services, and 80% of them had an intellectual disability. Another 1,892 Utahns are on the waiting list.

Would you support steps to improve housing and employment opportunities for individuals with autism?

Clare Collard:  
We need to provide halfway facilities to help people with disabilities transition to main stream society, or as close to mainstream as possible. We need to provide job coaches and mentors to help with this process.

We need to also increase awareness through education as to what individuals with Autism can bring to the work force.