California Education Code Section 56846
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(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:
(1) Autism is the fastest growing special education eligibility category for public education in California and the nation. In the years between 1998 and 2002, the number of pupils with autism receiving services in California almost doubled, from 10,360 to 20,377. These numbers have continued to climb at a surprising rate. In 2004, there were 4,427 additional pupils diagnosed with autism, an increase of 18 percent.
(2) Autism is not a rare disorder. It is a major public health problem that must be better addressed by the State Department of Education, the State Department of Developmental Services, the State Department of Social Services, the state public school system regional centers, and all other entities assisting children with autism.
(3) Significant gains have been made in the expansion of research related to autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. The findings of this research need to be more fully disseminated to parents, families, school districts, nonpublic schools, and regional centers throughout the state.
(b) Accordingly, it is the intent of the Legislature, in enacting Schedule (1) of Item 4300-101-0001 of Section 2.00 of the Budget Act of 2006 (Ch. 47, Stats.2006), which, funded the Autistic Spectrum Disorders Initiative of the State Department of Developmental Services, and this chapter, to allow the identification and dissemination of research-based recommended practices and professional development programs for children with autism to be fully accessible and available to parents and educators.
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