Monday, September 8, 2014

Survey Response: Eric Irvine, Candidate for Utah House 10

Eric Irvine
Candidates for the November 2014 elections were given the opportunity to respond to a few questions relating to autism. The following responses are from Eric Irvine, candidate for Utah House District 10.

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?

Eric Irvine:   

As a parent of an adult daughter with disabilities I understand all too well the need for additional funding to support this and many other issues within the medical care aspects of Utah law.  Not only can I answer yes to this question, but as I have looked at the law itself I can say that some immediate changes to the law need to be made to enforce the spirit of the law in support of those affected by this illness.

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
Eric Irvine 

I have some personal experience in this area, as a former Salt Lake City police officer, and would support all efforts to raise awareness and dedicate as much funding as possible to these efforts. The costs of any funding, I believe, would prove to be a savings in the long term by making any incident easier to handle with reduced time taken to locate and safely bring the individual home.

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?

Eric Irvine:   

Utah is the lowest in per pupil spending in comparison to all other states. One of my main platform issues is to see to it that Utah begins funding education properly. The additional funding I intend to raise will also increase the funding available to Special Ed. Programs. Special Ed. is an essential program that needs full support to function and complete its mission and I will do everything within my power to see that and other education programs succeed and genuinely funded.

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?

Eric Irvine:  

One of my daughters suffers from a disability that affects her ability to work and care for herself without supervision. I am aware of the limited number of employment opportunities and the long waiting lists for essential services and housing. All of these programs need additional support and improvement through incentives to employers, training towards independent living skills and funding to support a quality of life to those affected by disabilities. I will support all efforts that give genuine funding to support those issues and prove our struggling citizens with the support they need.