Monday, July 30, 2007

Missouri Blue Ribbon Panel

The Blue Ribbon Panel of Missouri is scheduling hearings around the state to hear public testimony on autism–related issues and to hear testimony from the various autism-related fields of expertise. The locations will include Jefferson City, Cape Girardeau, Springfield, St. Louis and Kansas City.

All proceedings are open to the public, with an open forum scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to give members of the public an opportunity to address the panel directly. The panel’s charge is to determine the “State of Autism” in Missouri including services, teaching, training and research, and to make recommendations for improving the quality of life across the lifespan of individuals with autism and their families.

With the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now reporting an autism spectrum diagnosis in one out of 150 children, Sen. Michael Gibbons officially announced the Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism on April 26. Sen. Scott Rupp of Wentzville will serve as the panel chairperson, along with Ron Ashworth of St. Louis as vice chairman.

Interested parties wishing to schedule a time to participate in public testimony may call Sen. Rupp’s office in Jefferson City at (573) 751-1282 or submit written testimony by e-mail to or by mail to Sen. Scott Rupp, Attn: Blue Ribbon Panel on Autism, State Capitol Building, Room 426, Jefferson City, MO 65101, FAX: (573) 526-4766.

For more information, contact Melissa DeStefano at (573) 751-1282 or contact representatives of the Missouri Autism Coalition, Gay Tompkins at (314) 800-3025; or Ginger King-Luetkemeyer at (573) 395-4626.

Panel Nominees by Region include:
Senator Scott Rupp, (R-Wentzville) Chairman
Senator Jolie Justus, (D-Kansas City)

St. Louis Region:
Ron Ashworth, Vice Chairman
Julie Roscoe
Randy Sanders
Bill Bolster

Kansas City Region:
Tom Davis
Robin Russell

Dr. Steve Kanne
Dr. Laurie Fowler

Southeast Missouri:
Mamie Benson (Kennett, MO)

Southwest Missouri:
Shawn Williams
Nikki Straw

Northeast Missouri:
Dr. Cindy Dowis

Heidi Atkins Lieberman, DESE
Julia Kauffman, MRDD

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