Find more information here: http://www.dmhc.ca.gov/dmhc_consumer/br/br_autismtf.aspx
The Department of Managed Health Care's Autism Advisory Task Force is set up to make a series of recommendations to Gov. Jerry Brown about "developing recommendations regarding medically necessary behavioral health treatment for individuals with autism or pervasive developmental disorder (collectively referred to as “autism”), as well as the appropriate qualifications, training and education for providers of such treatment"--that is to say, what kinds of medical and psychiatric treatment Autistic people should receive and what standards we hold care providers to.
Last March and April, ASAN campaigned to have an Autistic self-advocate elected to the panel, but unfortunately, the task force declined to do so, stating that, this late in the game, it would be insulting to the other candidates for the panel that they have already rejected.
Luckily, these meetings are open to the public and public comments are encouraged at the conclusion of each meeting (which is more than we can say for some other committees who have power over our lives), which is why I encourage my fellow California ASAN members to attend these meetings, witness for ourselves how power over Autistic people is used, and make the most out of this opportunity to speak directly to power.
If you cannot attend in person, you may attend by phone toll-free at 1 [masked]. This number is for the convention center, which will ask you for an identification number for the conference you wish to attend by phone. In our case, the ID number is 288476, which spells AUTISM on a touch-tone phone.
As always, please remember to be civil.
Our talking points may be more effective if they focus on these particular aspects. More strategy will be written here later.
From the committee's website: "Specifically, the Task Force will focus on:
- Scientifically validated Interventions that have demonstrated clinical efficacy and measurable treatment outcomes" --essentially, whatever therapies or treatments cause us to "make progress" in a way that is defined by scientists and caretakers, not us. (Sometimes an Autistic person and her parents or psychologist do have the same goals, like getting over a fear of something, and that's fine; but because of negative, ableist attitudes about autism that pervade society, Autistic people's goals and the goals of other people often conflict.)
Without extremely rigorous evidence and specialized knowledge, however, this particular aspect will be very difficult (but not impossible) to get a word edgewise in. We usually shine in more subjective discussions that come back to basic ethical standards instead of advanced, abstract scientific constructs which scientists are used to studying and defending in great detail.
- "Patient selection, monitoring and duration of therapy" --who gets diagnosed, how care providers keep track of an Autistic person's progress, and how long people like us should receive certain types of care.
As expected, the focus here has been entirely on children. Talk of screening all 2-year-old children for autism transpired at the April meeting.
- "Qualifications, training and supervision of providers" --the standards all professionals working with Autistic people must meet.
- "Provider network adequacy" --what makes an Autistic person's support network a "good" one.
- "Requirements that unlicensed providers must meet in order to obtain licensure from the state" --more or less, the steps a psychology or vocational rehab student takes to become a practitioner.