Kansas Legislative Research Department
2008 Children’s Issues
state. In addition to the topic referred by the
LCC, the Committee addressed issues related to
autism and foster care.
The Committee was granted four meeting
days for the 2008 Interim. It met on November
10, December 9-10, and December 19, 2008.
The Committee meetings and deliberations are
Children with Autism and the Public
Schools.The Committee received presentations
from three school districts - Olathe-USD
233, Blue Valley-USD 229, and Shawnee
Mission-USD 512. Ofﬁ cials from the three
school districts provided information on the
services for children with autism. Two of the
school districts invited a parent of a child with
an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to speak as
well. The district representatives and the parents
described an array of services which, they said,
had improved over time.
Individuals representing the Kansas State
Department of Education (KSDE) and the Kansas
Instructional Support Network (KISN) then gave
an overview of (1) special education services for
children from age three to twenty-one, and (2)
various aspects of services to children with an
ASD across Kansas. Both noted improvements
in services have been made in various areas
across the state, with signiﬁ cant improvement in
training, but gaps still exist.
Dr. Bill Craig, Chairman of the Kansas
Autism Task Force (KATF), emphasized the
need for early diagnosis and intervention for
children with an ASD. The opportunity for these
children to lead normal or near-normal lives is
missed without early diagnosis and intervention.
Dr. Craig also provided the Committee with
the KATF 2008ﬁ nal report. Finally, Dr. Craig
explained the need for the KATF to be extended
beyond its December 31, 2008 expiration date.
Dr. Mike Wasmer, KATF Member,
summarized Kate’s Law, a bill proposed by
the KATF which would mandate insurance
coverage for autism-related care. The bill will
be introduced by the LEPC. Dr. Wasmer then
spoke about his experience as the parent of a
child with autism, for whom the bill was named.
Other parents testiﬁ ed as well (including two
additional KATF members), summarizing their
problematic experiences. Some of the issues
centered around (1) a perceived reluctance on
the part of school personnel to acknowledge
that a student with an Individualized Education
Plan (IEP) needed a particular service, since
services deemed necessary must be provided to
students with IEPs; (2) the need for diagnostic
and treatment services in several areas of the
state; and (3) the need for and beneﬁ t of early
Individuals with Autism and Transition
from High School to Adulthood.
Committee heard from several parents and young
people with an ASD, who provided testimony
about their experiences in the transition process.
A number of concerns were expressed, among
them the following:
The long waiting list for services allowed
through the HCBS waiver for individuals
with a developmental disability (HCBS/
DD waiver). According to statistics cited in
the 2008 KATFﬁ nal report, the combined
waiting list (for unserved as well as
underserved individuals) is approximately
3,000 individuals. One parent testiﬁ ed
that her adult child would lose many, if not
most, of the skills he had received while in
school during his impending wait for these
The inﬂexibility of the HCBS waiver system.
A parent testiﬁ ed she had inquired about
paying for some of the services offered while
her adult child spent time on the waiting list.
She was told that, if she chose to pay, her
child’s name would be removed from the