As an academic institute that includes intellectual expertise in law, education and public health, the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute (ANDI) is uniquely positioned to convene stakeholders and develop a comprehensive policy agenda that addresses the many issues around autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including insurance coverage, the transition to young adulthood, housing and employment.
Armed with insights from the director’s participation in the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), ANDI will engage the community that includes autism experts, individuals with ASD, scientists, advocates and policymakers to tackle a number of pressing questions, including:
- What public health issues are related to the causes of ASD?
- What evidence is available to help determine which diagnostic tools and interventions should be covered by insurance?
- How do we best support individuals with autism as they transition to adulthood?
By bringing together key stakeholders across the issues concerning individuals and families facing ASD, the institute will address the questions that are impeding progress and ensure that the advances of new autism research help improve as many lives as possible.
- In 2013, ANDI hosted the first-ever Autism Speaks national policy and action summit. Members of Congress, including then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., B.A. ’85, as well as governors, scientists, policy experts and activists gathered to focus strategy on autism-based legislation, including lobbying for increases in federal funding and health insurance reform.
- By 2020, roughly 3.5 million people living with ASD will reach adulthood. In collaboration with Autism Speaks and the Bi-Partisan Coalition for Autism Research and Education, ANDI co-hosted “Autism and the Aging Out Crisis,” a special briefing for Members of Congress, Hill staffers and the public on issues related to the transition to adulthood for individuals with autism. Those that attended the briefing learned about the most recent statistical outcomes for young adults with autism, as well as the current landscape of services for those transitioning out of high school. The goal of the event was to address what Congress can do to better respond to this demographic.
- The Congressional Autism Caucus invited GW to provide special training for congressional staff members on how the Affordable Care Act will provide additional treatment and support for those with autism.
- GW Law Professor Lorri Unumb, the architect of autism insurance reform bill Ryan’s Law, versions of which have been enacted in 34 states, teaches “Autism and the Law”—the only law course of its kind in the country.