Twelve people have been appointed to the new Oregon Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Oregon’s autism rate is rising, and the state ranks near the top nationwide in its percentage of autistic children, at about one in 87.
Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed an executive order in March creating the commission, at the recommendation of a legislative work group. The 13th and final member of the commission, a state senator, has yet to be appointed.
The commission is charged with designing a 10-year plan to improve services and address issues faced by Oregonians living with ASD and their families.
“I am excited about this opportunity to serve Oregon and represent higher education on the commission,” said member Mickey Pardew, a special education professor at Western Oregon University.
Rep. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene, spearheaded the work group, which put together a long list of recommendations for legislators.
However, Oregon’s budget crisis stalled all but the commission.
Earlier this year legislators considered a bill that would have required insurers to cover autism diagnosis and treatment. House Bill 3000 would have forced insurers to recognize autism as a medical condition. It died in committee.
Members of the Oregon Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorder
Marilyn Gense (chairwoman), special education coordinator, Willamette Education Service District
Jean Rystrom (vice-chair-woman), regional practice director of pediatrics, Kaiser Permanente
Joyce Bernheim, health care attorney
Gleason Eakin, retired educator, administrator and founder of the Northwest Autism Foundation
Rep. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene
Kirby Erickson, autism specialist, Southern Oregon Education Service District
Robert Nickel, developmental pediatrician, OHSU Child Development and Rehabilitation Center
Michelle (Mickey) Pardew, professor, Special Education Division at Western Oregon University
Dora Raymaker, writer, researcher, trainer
Eric Richards, director of operations, Office of Student Learning and Partnerships, Oregon Department of Education
Clyde Saiki, deputy director, Oregon Department of Human Services
Kristi Sandvik, executive director of special education programs, Hillsboro School District