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State Autism Profiles: Ohio

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In 2000, 2,543 or 1.07% of children ages 3-21 who received special education services in Ohio have autism. In 2014-2015, 21,213 or 8.35% of children with disabilities ages 3-21 who received special education services have autism.

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

Age 3-5



Age 6-21



Age 3-21



Source: Reported by the State of Ohio 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 Ohio for 1999-2000 and 2014-2015
(Child Count by Age Group)

Age 3-5



Age 6-11



Age 12-17



Age 18-21



Age 6-21



Age 3-21



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


Ohio Autism Task Force
In 2003, then Governor Bob Taft signed into law H.B. 95, which included the establishment of the Ohio Autism Taskforce (OAT). OAT was requested to explore the incidences of autism in the state in order to improve deliveries of service and support systems to individuals with autism. Twenty-two members served on the taskforce, including 18 public members appointed by the governor, representatives from the state legislature and agencies, and other stakeholders interested in autism. The taskforce met for a year and prepared recommendations to the Governor, Speaker of the House, and President of the Senate. Rep. Jon Peterson (R-Delaware) served as the chair and Denise Caruso of the Autism Society of Ohio served as the vice-chair.

Ohio Interagency Workgroup on Autism
Under the leadership of the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, the state Interagency Work Group on Autism (IWGA) was convened in January 2008 to act as a catalyst to operationalize an action agenda around autism issues; serve as a vehicle to assure coordination among state partners; and provide an avenue of communication for the state agencies to assure a reciprocal flow of autism related information to and from families and the field, so work is based on real issues and workable solutions


In December 2012, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed an executive order requiring coverage of autism benefits in the state's Essential Health Benefits (EHB) benchmark plan in Ohio’s new health care exchange beginning in 2014. The autism benefit in the benchmark plan will cover 20 hours of applied behavior analysis (ABA) weekly, 20 visits per year for speech and language therapy, 20 visits per year for occupational therapy and 30 visits per year for mental/behavioral health outpatient services performed by a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist, or physician. Kasich action came after close consultation with legislative leadership and members of both chambers who recently heard testimony on bills to require private health insurance to require insurance coverage for autism services.

The December 2012 order also provided coverage for state employees once agreements were reached with the employee unions. Those autism insurance benefits became available July 1, 2013 through agreements reached between their bargaining units and the Kasich administration.'s%20new%20autism%20policies%20will%20provide%20needed%20services%20for%20kids.pdf

In October 2015 an insurance mandate bill again was introduced. H.B.350 would require health insurance plans provide coverage for the screening, diagnosis, and treatment of autism spectrum disorder. The bill also prohibits a health plan issuer from terminating an individual's coverage, or from refusing to deliver, execute, issue, amend, adjust, or renew coverage to an individual solely because the individual is diagnosed with or has received treatment for an autism spectrum disorder. The bill was reported by the House Committee in May 2016 but no further action was taken.


Although Ohio does not have an autism insurance mandate, it does require providers to offer autism services if they sell plans on the federally-run exchange. It is unclear how this may affect plans offered in Ohio outside of the Affordable Care Act exchange, but only plans offered on the exchange are required to offer autism services.
(Community Insurance Company – Anthem BCBS; PPO)


Ohio Home and Community-Based Services Waiver: OH Transitions DD
This waiver, implemented on July 1, 2010, provides adult day health center services, personal care aide services, emergency response services, home-delivered meals, home modifications, out-of-home respite, supplemental adaptive and assistive devices, supplemental transportation, and waiver nursing services for individuals of all ages with autism, intellectual disability, and developmental disabilities. This waiver expires on June 30, 2020.


Autism Scholarship Program
The Ohio Department of Education’s Autism Scholarship Program provides up to $20,000 per school year ($7,000 per quarter maximum) to the parents of a qualified child with autism to send their child to a special education program outside of their child’s school district for services outlined in the child’s individualized education program (IEP).

Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence
H.B. 119 §3323.30 includes the establishment of The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) within the Ohio Department of Education’s Office for Exceptional Children. OCALI serves as a resource for parents, educators and professionals interested in autism spectrum disorder, traumatic brain injury, and multiple disabilities. Additionally, OCALI administers programs and provides services for individuals with autism or those interested in learning more about autism.

Applied Behavior Analysts
Through an amendment to the 2013 budget bill, the state established a state certification process for providers of applied behavior analysis (ABA). The Ohio Board of Psychology will be responsible for certifying Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) as "certified Ohio behavior analysts."


Ohio Autism Diagnosis Education Pilot Project
In 2008, Ohio House Bill 119 established the creation of the Autism Diagnosis Education Pilot Project (ADEPP) within the Ohio Department of Health, Bureau of Early Intervention Services to educate families, health care professionals, educators, and others interested in screening and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders. The Project was renamed the Autism Diagnosis Education Project (ADEP) in September 2012. As of March of 2013, 44 counties participate in ADEP. The project is currently under the direction and administration of the OCALI and Akron Children’s Hospital/Family Child Learning Center. For more information, visit the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics website.


The Ohio General Assembly meets annually and throughout the year. The 2016 session began on January 5, 2016 and is expected to adjourn in late December 2016. The 2017 session is projected to convene early January 2017.

Sponsors of Autism Legislation

  • Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-Columbus) District 3
  • Sen. Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) District 8
  • Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City) District 23
  • Rep. Louis Terhar (R-Green Township) District 30
  • Rep. Stephen Slesnick (D-Canton) District 49

Prepared by Easterseals, Inc.; November 2016.

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