Monday, September 8, 2014

Survey Response: Barry Short, Candidate for UT House 72

Barry Short
Candidates for the November 2014 elections were given the opportunity to respond to a few questions relating to autism. The following responses are from Barry Short, candidate for Utah House District 72.

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?

Barry Short:   

The first necessary response would be that we would need to find consensus on what constitutes 'manageable.' That said, I am certainly always willing to discuss directing funds into directions that would benefit individuals. Everything is on the table.

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
Barry Short 


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?

Barry Short:   

There is so much I could write here that I will refer your members to my website for further comments that I will be posting throughout the campaign. However, to try to be concise, I believe that education is in a transitional phase fueled by the information revolution that we need to embrace. We are entering a new era where education is not going to be seen as the responsibility of any one entity, but will be a combination of traditional classrooms, online learning, and home schooling that will customize education for every student - which I suspect will be a truly great boon for special needs students. Our system now was, of necessity, designed as a 'one size fits all' approach, but that is no longer necessary, and was never as good as it should have been. We need to embrace innovation and opportunity, not be stuck in attempting to prop up an outdated system.

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?

Barry Short: