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Senate President Pro Tem Michael R. Gibbons Announces Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism

“One in every 150 children born has autism. The alarming increases in diagnoses are frightening. Unfortunately, there is no medical detection or cure so we must be ready to help. I have established the Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism that will help us determine where we are today and where we need to be in the 21st Century to help provide the best quality of life for individuals and families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. The panel’s guidance will help lay a roadmap to the future of how our state addresses autism.”

Senate President Pro Tem Michael R. Gibbons 15th Senatorial District

The panel will hold meetings throughout the state of Missouri and will provide a report of recommendations to the Missouri Senate by Oct. 31, 2007. Representation on the Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism is as follows:

Senator Scott Rupp, (R-Wentzville) (Chairman)

Senator Jolie Justus, (D-Kansas City)

Ron Ashworth, President/CEO of Sisters of Mercy Health System (Vice-Chairman) (St. Louis)

Julie Roscoe, Deputy Director Family and Community Relations of Judevine Center (St. Louis)

Randy Sanders, Autism Director of Francis Howell School District, Parent (St. Louis)

Bill Bolster, Attorney, Parent (St. Louis)

Tom Davis, CEO of Meyer Companies Inc., Former MO State Board of Education Member, Grandparent (Kansas City)

Robin Russell, Autism Alliance of Kansas City, Parent (Kansas City)

Dr. Steve Kanne, Associate Director of the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders (Mid-Missouri)

Dr. Laurie Fowler, Physician (Mid-Missouri)

Mamie Benson, SE Project Parent Advisory Committee, Parent (Southeast)

Shawn Williams, Law Enforcement, SW Project Parent Advisory Committee, Parent (Springfield)

Nikki Straw, Chairperson of Statewide Autism Parent Advisory Council, Parent (Joplin)

Dr. Cindy Dowis, Director of Special Education for Kirksville School District (Northeast)

Heidi Atkins-Liberman, Assistant Commissioner—Special Education (Missouri-at-large)

Julia Kauffman, MRDD District Administrator, former Director for Autism Services (Missouri-at-large).

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