November 8, 2011 Illinois Autism Taskforce Meeting


November 8, 2011, 1 - 3pm


  • Springfield: 100 S. Grand Avenue East, 3rd Floor Executive Video Conference Room
  • Chicago: 401 S. Clinton, 7th Floor, Executive Video Conference Room


  1. Introductions & Welcome New Members
  2. Division Updates
  3. Budget Updates
  4. Workgroup Updates
    1. Information Clearinghouse Update Report
    2. Training/Education Update Report
    3. DRS/DD Subcommittee
    4. Act Early Subcommitte
  5. Charting the System Status
  6. Aetna Better Health
  7. Autism Research Fund Update
  8. 2011 Annual Report
  9. New Business
  10. Next Steps
  11. 2012 Meeting Schedule
  • February 14, 2012
  • May 8, 2012
  • August 14, 2012
  • November 13, 2012

Autism Taskforce Meeting Minutes


Dr. Edwin Cook, Grace Hou, Brian Rubin, Ruth Ann Sikora, Sherry Ladislas, Patti Boheme, Jessie Decker, Terry Herbstritt, Randy Staton, Christine Hammond, Janet Gully, Tracy Aldridge, Mo Buti, Dean Myles, Liz Klug, Dr. Valerie Nan-Clares, Lucy Bilaver, Richard Ney, Chris Kennedy, Donna Brown, Audrey Gorman, Ruth Snyder, Kevin Casey, Liz McKenney, Tyrin Rencher 

1. Introductions and Welcome:

Co-chair Brian Rubin opened the meeting requesting a round of introductions in Springfield and Chicago. Brian reviewed background information on the ATF for new members.

2. Division Updates:

DD Update:

(Tracy Aldridge, Kevin Casey) Kevin Casey, the new director of DD introduced himself.

SST's continues to expand, served 400 individuals within the state to this point.

LIGAS - copies went out this morning of draft implementation plan and site to post comments/suggestions

Division is currently working through the proposed closure of Mabley Developmental Center and Jacksonville Developmental Center. The COGFA Advisory Board has recommended keeping Mabley open.

Grace added the governor has proposed a rebalancing document which changes the plan, we anticipate we will close in the range of 3-4 state centers in 2 1/2 - 4 years. The plan allows for a more thoughtful time plan for closures and a safer approach to move people out of state centers.

The budget originally short funded DD - SODC's, and DMH state hospitals. We currently have approximately 2000 individuals residing in SODC's. Due to the budget the department proposed dramatic timelines however we have to go through Cogfa who will issue an Advisory recommendation. They voted no for Mabley closure and the vote for Jacksonville will take place on Thursday. The timeline for closures is very aggressive but the budget imposes these restrictions.

It's important that everyone takes a look at the LIGAS plan. The final plan is to be delivered by 12/15/11

DRS Update:

(Randy Staton) The department is working with Acting Director Kris Smith as we go through the process of posting for a new division director.

The Fletcher arbitration has resulted in no longer hiring contractual workers which has caused a temporary backlog for referrals and reassessments.

Media campaign for DRS is underway.

DMH Update: No updates

EI Update:

(Janet Gully) As of October 31, 494 children were now identified with Autism diagnosis - up from 128 identified in August. This will be valuable in the transition process.

3. Budget Updates:

Under the plan outcomes and results dictate the budget. The Governors Commission compiled a report; we will forward the link to this to the ATF. In addition to maintaining the budget, proposals are submitted for how the agency will meet the budget by achieving outcomes efficiently and effectively. We are learning the process as we go, as well as gathering the information for outcomes.

4. Workgroup Updates:

a. Autism Information Clearinghouse:

(Ruth Ann Sikora) The group has met a few times since the last ATF. We are currently bringing some of our new members up to date. We continue to work on the Finding help in Illinois section.

b. Training and Education:

(Patti Boheme) We originally looked at whether mandated training was needed within the state but given the economic times we felt it was not the time to ask for mandates. We began compiling the training that is currently offered throughout the state looking mainly at regular and predictable training and compiled a pretty comprehensive document which we hope to have placed on the clearinghouse website. We also found some areas of gaps in the training for example the medical community and rural areas.

The group will schedule another meeting prior to the next ATF.

Chris will send out an updated training grid to all members

c. DRS/DD subcommittee

Discussion of this committee centered on supportive employment waivers. The issue is denial of DRS services immediately and going straight to use of DD waiver. The solutions proposed at the meeting are that DRS will complete training of counselors; DD will review the letters of demand and make sure procedures are followed and not just a form letter produced.

The issue is we want to keep with the intended spirit of the waiver which is going through DRS first than DD. This is a multifaceted issue and gets into level of severity and funding issues. There are some clarification issues on both sides as to when the Adult waiver is to be used. Connie Sims will send out clarification to Chris to send out to the ATF.

There was some discussion on job coaches and standards for job coaches, is this something the training Subcommittee should be also looking at?

The group was cautioned that the end user of the job coach is the employer and we want to be careful of over regulating this or it may in turn create a burden for the employer who may simply not bother with it. The job coach should be the natural support of the client. There is no state or federal standards for a job coach however it is a relatively low paying job so we need to tread carefully with this.

Next steps: Make sure the VR services are assessed through DRS, DRS needs to have a clear understanding of waiver services. Kevin Casey will meet with Kris Smith regarding the transition of the end of DRS services to the waiver program.

d. Act Early Subcommittee:

Chris will circulate minutes of the last meeting. Ed Cook reviewed minutes.

Early diagnosis improving as we heard through EI report.

Illinois has one of 10 CDC Act Early Ambassadors, whose charge is to enhance early identification of ASD in the state and to disseminate Act early identification materials.

There was some discussion of increased funding of EPSDT to cover ASD diagnosis and treatment but those discussions are on hold due to financial constraints if the state.

Act early was an independently formed group and will now also act as a sub-committee of the taskforce to allow for discussion of ACT Early activities by the taskforce and state agency representatives.

5. Charting the Systems:

Developed a timeline for getting this work posted on the website, this work is ahead of New York in Autism planning. We originally put this together to educate ourselves on this taskforce but it has developed into a good tool for navigating services in the state for parents and consumers.

Discussion followed about how information is getting out to families, especially regarding the PUNS. PUNS were not mandated until 2008 so many families are not aware of it. It is important that everyone that is DD should be signed up on the PUNS list as we need the numbers for legislation; there is only a fraction of what is really out there. Parents don't know where to go, there is no single point of entry and they don't sign up if it appears they will not get services. The PAS agencies should be getting them on the list.

It was suggested that we have a one page flow chart for distribution to Schools/special education to raise awareness. Patti Boheme stated they have one completed that they use at Little Friends.

Discussion followed that we have an opportunity in LIGAS to have structured community outreach. The plan has a section on outreach; we don't ordinarily have this opportunity as a state entity. There is no outreach in the plan to reach schools or pediatricians; this would be a chance to make recommendations.

Comments regarding LIGAS -It makes people think residential living when we talk about outreach and not home based.

Timeline for Charting the System: Feedback by 1 month 12/08/11, Clearinghouse to put in any key relevant links by 12/15/11 and one month for ATF to look over, by January 15, 2011 posted to website.

The co-chairs requested a conference call to Clearinghouse, Chris will set this up.

There was discussion on charting the system in IQ requirements for some of the services and where the there might be a change in direction for the services offered based on the persons IQ or functionality.

6. Aetna Better Health Advisory Committee

(Carl LaMell) The committee met - the first meeting was general information and basic housekeeping. This group will meet quarterly; it is a way for Aetna to hear from direct consumers. Committee members bring up issues and Aetna responds. We want to recommend that Allini set up a similar committee.

7. Autism Research Fund Update

The RFI has some revisions from legal to be added and it will be ready for posting

8. 2011 Annual Report

Annual report due January 1, 2011. The annual report will be sent out to all members.

Bronwynn Rains is the new TAP director, she will be asked to take Georgia Winson's place on the ATF.

9. New Business

Brian recommended reactivating the Adult services committee, Carl LaMell was originally on that committee. The committee looked at specialized services for behavioral issues; they should also look at Autism. Kevin Casey wanted to be directly involved also.

Ruth Ann brought up that the draft version of the PAS manual is not as clear as the 2005 version in assessing persons with autism. Kevin and Tracy stated they would take a look at what she was referring to.

10. Meeting Schedule

May need to change February 14 meeting date, we will let the group know.

Tentative 2012 meeting schedule:

February 14, 2012

May 8, 2012

August 14, 2012

November 13, 2012