LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- State health officials are laying out comprehensive, long-term goals to improve services for children and adults living with autism in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Community Health and Autism Council released the Michigan Autism Spectrum Disorders State Plan on Monday.
The goals include creating a state resource center where families and individuals living with autism can get information and be connected to available services. The plan also calls for increasing screening for autism spectrum disorders by primary care and early childhood providers.
Autism spectrum disorders are a group of developmental brain disorders including autism, Asperger syndrome and Rett syndrome.
One of those responsible for creation of the plan is Amy Matthews, Ph.d, from Grand Valley State University's START Center. START is the acronym for Statewide Autism Resources and Training.
She told WZZM 13 Monday:"Autism has increased so significantly over the past ten years so we were talking a small number of individuals ten to fifteen years ago - now we've had a substantial increase so all the service providers are trying to catch up in understanding this disorder."
Matthews says it's hoped that having the plan will allow Michigan to take advantage of federal funds for autism treatment.
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed an executive order last year to create the Autism Council within the MDCH. The group will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the state plan.
Learn more about the council here: http://www.mi.gov/autism