Senator David Carlucci Sponsors VR Communication Support for Autistic Consumers, Senate Bill No. S04256 / A05141

Senator David Carlucci

Senator David Carlucci

Senator David Carlucci, Chair of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee, sponsors VR Communication Support for Autistic Consumers. Senate Bill No. S04256 (A05141) directs the commissioner of education (John B. King Jr) to amend the education law in relation to vocational rehabilitation services to add a new section (1004-c) for communication support as a vocational rehabilitation service. The deputy Commissioner of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (Kevin Smith) is to implement the service statewide effective January 1, 2016.

First introduced to the New York State Assembly by Angelo Santabarbara as Bill No A05141, This bill is rapidly gaining the support of national organizations that are directly involved with servicing autistic adults.

Details of This Bill

Currently, VR spends 80% of their budget for  job coach specialists to train individuals in skill such as mopping floors and bagging groceries. These specialists only need a GED to contract with the state, for up to $42 per hour.  Instead, the bill asks VR counselors to refer to speech therapists or special education teachers to support communication in the workplace.

This support would be consistent with the needs of the disability and appropriate use of the funding available in the budget. Currently, special education teachers and speech therapists are trained in social pragmatic language disorders, and the nuances of how these challenges interfere with the workplace.  With less spending and more appropriate services, autistic adults stand in an excellent position to redeem themselves of the 90% unemployment rates, depressing the community.

How Can You Help?

Contact the chairs of the overseeing committees and ask for them to put this bill on the agenda.

  1. Senate Bill No. S04256:
    Senator John J. Flanagan
    Chair, Education Committee
    Tel: 631-361-2154 or 518-455-2071
    flanagan@nysenate.gov
  2. Assembly Bill No. A05141:
    Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan
    Chair, Education Committee
    Tel: 718-784-3194 or 718-456-9492 or 518-455-4851
    NolanC@assembly.state.ny.us  and collinsj@assembly.state.ny.us

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