Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Survey Response: Donna Taylor, Candidate for Utah House 20

Donna Taylor
Candidates for the November 2014 elections were given the opportunity to respond to a few questions relating to autism. The following responses are from Donna Taylor, candidate for Utah House District 20.

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?

Donna Taylor:   Yes. It should become permanent.

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:
  • better understand the extent of the wandering problem in Utah
  • promote training for emergency personnel
  • identify technological solutions and help make them affordable for caregivers
Donna Taylor:  Yes. These technologies would help save lives.

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?

Donna Taylor:   

The current state of the Utah Education system needs to be re-defined. There needs to be more attention to the disbursement of funds from the Education Fund so that the funds are allocated to the teachers, students, materials, lunches and special programs for all children with special needs. We need to work closely with the teachers and the school board to make sure no student is left behind.

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?

Donna Taylor: 
Yes. I believe group housing for the disabled is an option. There they can become a family and be supportive of one another. Vocational training to people with disabilities and educating the public about the disabled will help potential employers be more interested in hiring a disabled person without the stigmas that come with it.