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State Autism Profiles: Oklahoma

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DEMOGRAPHICS

In 2000, 675 or 0.79% of children ages 3-21 who received special education services in Oklahoma have autism. In 2014-2015, 4,885 or 4.26% of children with disabilities ages 3-21 who received special education services have autism.

Table 1-1: IDEA Part B - Children with Autism in Oklahoma for 1999-2000 and 2014-2015
(Child Count by Age Group)

  1999-20002014-2015
Age 3-5

 9

263

Age 6-21

666

4,662

Age 3-21

675

4,885

Source: Reported by the State of Oklahoma in accordance with Section 618 of IDEA to U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs

Table 1-2: IDEA Part B - Children with Disabilities in Oklahoma for 1999-2000 and 2014-2015
(Child Count by Age Group)

  1999-20002014-2015
Age 3-5

 6,393

8,919

Age 6-11

 37,986

46,157

Age 12-17

36,969 

46,247

Age 18-21

 4,229

4,224

Age 6-21

 79,184

96,752

Age 3-21

 85,577

105,671

Source: Reported by the State of Oklahoma in accordance with Section 618 of IDEA to U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs

STATE TASK FORCE

Autism Working Group
The State of Oklahoma does not have an active task force on autism at this time.

In 2013, the legislature passed but the Governor vetoed, S.B. 101 to create a Task Force on State Services for Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism. The Task Force would have studied the needs of this population in Oklahoma, the services currently available, and make specific recommendations to the Legislature regarding services that need to be provided to this population.
http://legiscan.com/OK/drafts/SB101/2013

In 2001, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Services Division convened an Autism Working Group, comprised of representatives from state agencies, educators, parents, and professionals with an interest in autism, to develop a state plan to improve services for individuals with autism. The group met for two years, and upon its dissolution, created the Oklahoma Autism Network to manage and implement “The Individuals with Autism and Their Families Oklahoma Plan.” The network received funding from the Department of Human Services to implement the Oklahoma Autism Pilot Program and to provide in-home support services to individuals with autism. The program was discontinued due to insufficient funding.

STATE INSURANCE COVERAGE

In 2015, legislation was introduced to require that all health benefit plans issued or renewed on or after November 1, 2015, include coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of any autistic disorder, provided such treatments are medically necessary and identified and ordered by a licensed physician, licensed psychologist or licensed clinical social worker. Treatments to be provided under H.B. 1336 included behavioral therapy, prescription drugs, psychiatric, psychological and consultative services, physical, occupational therapies and speech and language pathology. The mandate required onset within the first 3 years of life. The bill also required that individual and group health insurance policies that provide medical and surgical benefits shall provide the same coverage and benefits to any individual under the age of eighteen (18) years who has been diagnosed with an autistic disorder as it would provide coverage and benefits to an individual under the age of eighteen (18) years who has not been diagnosed with an autistic disorder. The bill was referred to the Insurance Committee. No further action was taken.
http://www.oklegislature.gov/BillInfo.aspx?Bill=HB1336&Session=1600

In the 2011 legislative session, H.B. 1248 and H.B. 1624 were introduced. H.B. 1248 would have created a high-risk insurance pool for people with autism spectrum disorder and H.B. 1624 required health plans to provide insurance to people with autism spectrum disorder. Insurance plans under H.B. 1624 could not institute dollar limits, deductibles, or co-pays less favorable than provisions that apply to general physical illness. H.B. 1248 was referred to the Appropriations and Budget committee and H.B. 1624 was referred to the Rules Committee. No further action was taken on either bill.

Legislation (S.B. 1, also known as “Nick’s Law,” H.B. 1312, H.B. 1841, S.B. 36, and S.B. 46) was introduced in January 2009 requiring health insurance benefits and coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders to individuals 21 years or younger. Covered services include diagnosis, testing, treatment, therapies, medications, and supplements as prescribed by a licensed physician. Behavioral therapy would be covered up to a maximum of $75,000 per year for a maximum of three years. S.B. 1, 36, and 46 were referred to the Senate Retirement and Insurance Committee. H.B. 1841 was referred to the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee. H.B. 1312 was defeated in the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee on February 5, 2009. No further action was taken.

Some coverage is available under S.B. 2045, passed on April 22, 2010. The legislation requires that individual and group health insurance policies that provide medical and surgical benefits shall provide the same coverage and benefits to any individual under the age of eighteen years who has been diagnosed with autism, as it would provide coverage and benefits to an individual under the age of eighteen years who has not been diagnosed with autism. (2010 Okl. Sess. Laws, Chap. 166)

ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS

Oklahoma’s benchmark plan does not include autism services or applied behavior analysis (ABA) in its Essential Health Benefits package. Its exchange is being run by the federal government.
(Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma; BlueOptions PPO)

EDUCATION

Oklahoma defines autism as a developmental disability that affects communications and social interactions, usually manifested before the age of 3, which adversely affects a child’s educational performance. A diagnosis of autism is not made if the child’s educational performance is primarily affected by an emotional disturbance. To be eligible for special education services due to a diagnosis of autism, the student must undergo a comprehensive evaluation to include a student’s medical information, communication abilities, and behavioral functioning. Impairments in communication and social interactions are the primary components of an autism diagnosis and the evaluation. (Special Education Handbook, Oklahoma State Department of Education, pp. 68)
http://ok.gov/sde/sites/ok.gov.sde/files/Oklahoma%20Special%20Education%20Handbook.pdf

Behavior Analysts Board
Section 1928 of Title 59 of the Oklahoma Statutes (59 O.S. § 1928) directs the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) Developmental Disabilities Services Division (DDSD) to provide for licensing of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and certification of Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA.) practicing in the state of Oklahoma. The statute became effective Nov. 1, 2009. Oklahoma licenses behavior analysts under its Oklahoma Licensed Behavior Analyst Board.
http://www.okdhs.org/programsandservices/dd/docs/olbab.htm?&MSHiC=65001&L=10&W=ANALYSES%20ANALYSTS%20BEHAVIORAL%20BEHAVIORALLY%20BEHAVIORS%20analyst%20behavior%20&Pre=%3CFONT%20STYLE%3D%22color%3A%20%23000000%3B%20background-color%3A%20%23FFFF00%22%3

Legislation
S.B. 2071 was signed into law by Governor Brad Henry on May 23, 2008, establishing a comprehensive autism training program at the University of Central Oklahoma’s Regional University System. The program will provide statewide leadership in training post-graduate and post-baccalaureate behavior therapists. The therapists will specialize in treating and providing services to children with autism. The act became effective as of November 1, 2008.

OTHER STATE RESOURCES

Legislation (H.B. 2027, S.B. 135) was introduced to specify certification and licensing requirements for applied behavior analysts. The legislation also sets aside funds to the Department of Education for specialized training for direct service providers in working with children with autism spectrum disorders for the Sooner Start Program. Funds would also be set aside to provide training for providers in the Sooner SUCCESS program, and for the Department of Developmental Disabilities Services Division to establish an applied behavior analysis treatment pilot project. S.B. 135 was signed by the governor on May 4, 2009.

STATE LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR

The Oklahoma State Legislature meets annually on the first Monday in February. The 2016 Legislative Session convened on February 1, 2016 and convened on May 27, 2015. The 2017 session is expected to convene on February 6, 2017.
http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/

Sponsors of Autism Legislation

  • Sen. Patrick Anderson (R-Enid) District 19
  • Sen. Bill Brown (R-Wagoner) District 36
  • Sen. Clark Jolley (R-Edmond) District 41
  • Rep. James Lockhart (D-LeFlore) District 3
  • Rep. Mike Brown (D-Tahlequah) District 4
  • Rep. Doug Cox,Easter Seals Serving DC | MD | VA(R-Grove) District 5
  • Rep. Scott Martin (R-Norman) District 46
  • Rep. Jeannie McDaniel (D-Tulsa) District 78
  • Rep. Randy Grau (R-Edmond, North Oklahoma City) District 81
  • Rep. Charlie Joyner (R-Midwest City) District 95

Prepared by Easterseals, Inc.; November 2016.

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