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Final Reminder: 2014 IACC Call for Nominations Closes Friday, November 14, 2014!

13 Nov

The email below was just sent by the Office of Autism Research Coordination to remind the communities that the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee is being reformed–nominations are still open but only until tomorrow.

In other words: if you want to be considered, or if you want to nominate someone else for consideration, now is the time to get those nominations in.

From OARC:

Final Reminder: 2014 IACC Call for Nominations Closes Friday, November 14, 2014!

Only one more day to send in submissions!

The Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking nominations of individuals to serve as non-federal public members on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee established in accordance with the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-416, PDF – 49 KB) and reauthorized by the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-157, PDF – 211 KB).  The Committee, composed of federal officials and public stakeholders, provides recommendations and advice to the Secretary of HHS regarding issues related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including ASD research and services activities.

The Office of the Secretary of HHS has directed the Office of Autism Research Coordination to assist the Department in conducting an open and transparent nomination process. Nominations of new public members are encouraged, and current members may also be re-nominated to continue to serve. Self-nominations and nominations of other individuals are both permitted. Final selections and appointments of public members will be made by the Secretary. The period of service will be from the time of appointment through September 30, 2019.

The call for nominations opened on October 1, 2014 and will close at the end of the day (11:59 p.m.) on November 14, 2014. Please ensure e-mails or standard mail/Fedex are sent and date and time stamped by the given deadline.

Please click on the links below for information about the committee, and the requirements and instructions for submitting a nomination.

IACC Co-occurring conditions workshop: Lewin Group presentation on co-occurring conditions in autistic children in the U.S.

4 Nov

Anjali Jain of the Lewin group presented on data they have collected from medical records about the prevalence of co-occurring conditions found in autistic children in the U.S.. This presentation was made to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee in Sept. 2014. (the original video is here, and the Lewin Group talk started at about timestamp 17:50.  The original has closed captioning).

Some of the most common co-occurring conditions are anxiety and depression. In fact, mental health conditions are found in about 70% of autistics. Similarly, neurological conditions and neurodevelopmental disorders are found in about 70% of autistics. By comparison, GI+nutritional disorders (which include areas like allergies), which get a great deal of attention, are found in about 20% of the autistic population. While large, this is much less common than the 70% rates found for mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Another interesting finding was that autistic children are seen more often for treatment of infectious diseases. If the risk for serious problems from infectious diseases is higher in autistic children, this makes the decision of many autism parents to stop vaccinating their children even more problematic.

The full video (with closed captioning) can be found here:

http://videocast.nih.gov/launch.asp?18636


By Matt Carey

Presentations made to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)

4 Nov

The U.S. Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) holds regular meetings. Each IACC meeting typically has presentations by experts in various fields of autism research and services. Video of the meetings is made available by the NIH. For example the IACC workshop on under recognized and co-occurring conditions in ASD is there. It can be somewhat inaccessible in that the entire meeting is 7 hours long (and so is the video) while each talk was typically 10 minutes. In other meetings the talks have been longer, but it seems to me that some may find it valuable to have access to the individual talks. With that in mind, I have been pulling some of the meeting videos and cutting the talks out and posting to YouTube. I will post these talks as I get time.

The first set will be the epidemiology talks presented at the recent Workshop. One by the Anjali Jain of the Lewin Group, one by Lisa Croen of Kaiser Permanente, one by Isaac Kohane of Harvard University, and one by Daniel Coury of The Ohio State University.

By Matt Carey

Nick Walker on Neurodiversity: Some Basic Terms & Definitions

25 Oct

Nick Walker starts his introduction with “I’m an Autistic educator, author, speaker, transdisciplinary scholar, activist, parent, and martial arts master.” His writing is excellent and I’d highly recommend adding Neurocosmopolatinism to your list of blogs to track, if it isn’t there already.

A recent article by Mr. Walker covers the topic of neurodiversity clearly and accurately. It’s a great resource: Neurodiversity: Some Basic Terms & Definitions.

It is one of those articles I’d like to copy in it’s entirety. But instead I’ll send you to: Neurodiversity: Some Basic Terms & Definitions.


By Matt Carey

Press Release: IACC Reauthorized by Autism CARES Act to Continue Through 2019; HHS Seeks Nominations for Public Membership

1 Oct iacc-logo[1]

Below is a press release about the nomination process for the next Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC).  Note: I served as a public member to the previous IACC but my comments here and elsewhere are my own.

IACC Reauthorized by Autism CARES Act to Continue Through 2019; HHS Seeks Nominations for Public Membership (PDF – 94 KB)

On August 8, 2014, President Obama signed the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act of 2014 (PDF – 256 KB) into law, reauthorizing and expanding the provisions of the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (PDF – 142 KB). New provisions include an increased focus on services and supports, a report on the needs of transitioning youth and adults, and the creation of an Autism Initiative within the Department of Health and Human Services to ensure accountability and ongoing implementation of autism activities across the Department. The new law also reauthorizes the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) to continue until September 30, 2019.

The IACC is a federal advisory committee composed of federal officials and non-federal public members, including autism self-advocates, family members, representatives of private autism organizations, and other public stakeholders. The committee is charged with:

  • Providing annual updates on its Strategic Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Research, which under the new law will be expanded to include recommendations on services and supports provision;
  • Providing annual updates on its Summary of Advances in ASD Research, a document that summarizes each year’s top ASD research advances;
  • Providing advice and recommendations to the HHS Secretary regarding issues related to ASD;
  • Providing a forum for public discussion of issues related to ASD.

As a federal advisory committee, the IACC does not have authority or appropriations to fund research or services activities, nor to implement federal programs. The IACC’s role is to provide advice that can be used by federal agencies to guide them in setting program and funding priorities, and in developing partnerships with private organizations to address issues of importance to the autism community.

Under the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 (covering the period from 2011-2014, PDF – 121 KB), the IACC completed several important projects, including issuing: a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius regarding the need to fill critical gaps in health coverage for people on the autism spectrum; a statement from the Committee on the 2012 update in the ASD diagnostic criteria, which emphasized the importance of basing healthcare and service provision decisions on the need of the individual; and an in-depth 2013 IACC Strategic Plan Update that analyzed progress made over a five-year period (2008-2012) toward implementing the recommendations in the IACC Strategic Plan.

Reflecting on the completion of the current IACC members’ terms on September 30, 2014, IACC Chair Dr. Thomas Insel stated, “We deeply appreciate the contributions and accomplishments of the IACC members who served on the Committee from 2012-2014, and we look forward to working with the new committee, starting in 2015, to address the community’s most pressing ASD research and services needs.”

The Autism CARES Act extends the work of the IACC another 5 years to 2019. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently seeking nominations of individuals to serve as non-federal public members on the next iteration of the committee. Members of the public are welcome to nominate individuals with personal and/or professional experience with ASD for public membership on the committee. The Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) at the National Institutes of Health, which manages the IACC, will assist the Department in collecting public member nominations. Selections and appointments of public members will be made by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

For more information on the IACC public member nomination process, please see the 2014 IACC Call for Nominations Announcement.***

The IACC is a federal advisory committee that was created by Congress in an effort to accelerate progress in ASD research and services. The IACC provides advice to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on activities related to ASD, and works to improve coordination and communication across the Federal government and work in partnership with the autism community. The Committee is composed of officials from many different federal agencies involved in autism research and services, as well as people with ASD, parents, advocates, and other members of the autism community. The documents and recommendations produced by the IACC reflect the views of the Committee as an independent advisory body and the expertise of the members of the Committee, but do not represent the views, official statements, policies or positions of the Federal government. For more information on the IACC, please visit: www.iacc.hhs.gov.

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee 2014 Call for Nominations Announcement

1 Oct

Below is the call for nominations announcement for membership in the next IACC.

Note: I served as a public member to the IACC in the last term, but my comments here and elsewhere are my own.

Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee
2014 Call for Nominations Announcement

Introduction

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), established in accordance with the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-416, PDF – 49 KB) and reauthorized by the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-157, PDF – 211 KB), is open from October 1, 2014- November 14, 2014 for nominations of individuals to serve as non-federal public members on this committee (see press release). The Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary), who will make the final selections and appointments of non-federal public members, has directed the Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) to assist the Department in conducting an open and transparent nomination process.

Who Is Eligible?

Nominations of new non-federal public members are encouraged, but current non-federal public members may also be re-nominated to continue to serve. Self-nominations and nominations of other individuals are both permitted. Only one nomination per individual is required. Multiple nominations for the same individual will not increase likelihood of selection. The Secretary may select non-federal public members from the pool of submitted nominations and other sources as needed to meet statutory requirements and to form a balanced committee that represents the diversity within the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) community. Those eligible for nomination include leaders or representatives of major ASD research, advocacy and service organizations, parents or guardians of individuals with ASD, individuals on the autism spectrum, healthcare and service providers, educators, researchers and other individuals with professional or personal experience with ASD. In accordance with White House Office of Management and Budget guidelines (FR Doc. 2014–19140), federally-registered lobbyists are not eligible.

Responsibilities of Appointed Non-Federal Public Members

As specified in the Committee’s authorizing statute (section 399CC of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. 280i-2, as amended), the Committee will carry out the following responsibilities: (1) monitor autism spectrum disorder research, and to the extent practicable, services and support activities, across all relevant Federal departments and agencies, including coordination of Federal activities with respect to autism spectrum disorder; (2) develop a summary of advances in autism spectrum disorder research related to causes, prevention, treatment, early screening, diagnosis or ruling out a diagnosis; interventions, including school and community-based interventions, and access to services and supports for individuals with autism spectrum disorder; (3) make recommendations to the Secretary regarding any appropriate changes to such activities, including with respect to the strategic plan; (4) make recommendations to the Secretary regarding public participation in decisions relating to autism spectrum disorder, and the process by which public feedback can be better integrated into such decisions; (5) develop a strategic plan for the conduct of, and support for, autism spectrum disorder research, including, as practicable, for services and supports, for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder and the families of such individuals, which shall include (A) proposed budgetary requirements; and (B) recommendations to ensure that autism spectrum disorder research, and services and support activities to the extent practicable, of the Department of Health and Human Services and of other Federal departments and agencies are not unnecessarily duplicative; and (6) submit to Congress and the President: (A) an annual update on the summary of advances; and (B) an annual update to the strategic plan, including any progress made in achieving the goals outlined in such strategic plan.

Committee Composition

In accordance with the Committee’s authorizing statute, “Not more than 1/2, but not fewer than 1/3, of the total membership of the Committee shall be composed of non-Federal public members appointed by the Secretary.”

All non-Federal public members are appointed as Special Government Employees for their service on the IACC, of which:

  • At least two such members shall be individuals with a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder;
  • At least two such members shall be parents or legal guardians of an individual with an autism spectrum disorder; and
  • At least two such members shall be representatives of leading research, advocacy, and service organizations for individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

The Department strives to ensure that the membership of HHS Federal advisory committees is fairly balanced in terms of points of view represented and the committee’s function. Every effort is made to ensure that the views of women, all ethnic and racial groups, and people with disabilities are represented on HHS Federal advisory committees and, therefore, the Department encourages nominations of qualified candidates from these groups. The Department also encourages geographic diversity in the composition of the Committee. Appointment to this Committee shall be made without discrimination on the basis of age, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and cultural, religious, or socioeconomic status. Requests for reasonable accommodation to enable participation on the Committee should be indicated in the nomination submission.

Member Terms

Non-Federal public members of the Committee “shall serve for a term of 4 years, and may be reappointed for one or more additional 4-year terms… Any member appointed to fill a vacancy for an unexpired term shall be appointed for the remainder of such term. A member [with a valid appointment] may serve after the expiration of the member’s term until a successor has been appointed.”

Meetings and Travel

“The Committee shall meet at the call of the chairperson or upon the request of the Secretary. The Committee shall meet not fewer than 2 times each year.”

In the years 2008-2014, the IACC held an average of 16 meetings, workshops and phone conferences per year, including full committee, subcommittee, working and planning group meetings, and workshops. Travel expenses are provided for non-federal public Committee members to facilitate attendance at in-person meetings.

Submission Instructions and Deadline

Nominations should include a cover letter of no longer than 3 pages describing the candidate’s interest in seeking appointment to the IACC, including relevant personal and professional experience with ASD, as well as contact information and a current curriculum vitae or resume. Up to 2 letters of support are permitted in addition to the nomination, with a page limit of 3 pages per letter. Please do not include other materials unless requested.

Nominations are due by 12:00 midnight Eastern Friday, November 14, 2014 and may be sent to Dr. Susan Daniels, Director, Office of Autism Research Coordination/NIMH/NIH, 6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 6184, Bethesda, Maryland 20892 by standard or express mail, or via e-mail to IACCPublicInquiries@mail.nih.gov.

More information about the IACC is available at www.iacc.hhs.gov.

President Obama signs Autism CARES Act into law

12 Aug

The Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2014 has been signed by President Obama, making it law. This will extend and expand on the framework for authorizing appropriations for autism research and for coordinating research efforts in the U.S..

Here is the summary for the bill:

Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2014 or the Autism CARES Act of 2014 – (Sec. 2) Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to designate an official to oversee national autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research, services, and support activities. Directs the official to implement such activities taking into account the strategic plan developed by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (the Interagency Committee) and ensure that duplication of activities by federal agencies is minimized.

Extends through FY2019: (1) the developmental disabilities surveillance and research program; (2) the autism education, early detection, and intervention program; and (3) the Interagency Committee.

(Sec. 3) Includes support for regional centers of excellence in ASD and other developmental disabilities epidemiology as a purpose of grants or cooperative agreements.

(Sec. 4) Requires information and education activities to be culturally competent. Allows a lead agency coordinating activities at the state level to include respite care for caregivers. Allows the use of research centers or networks for the provision of training in respite care and for research to determine practices for interventions to improve the health of individuals with ASD.

(Sec. 5) Revises responsibilities of the Interagency Committee concerning:
• inclusion of school- and community-based interventions in the Committee summary of advances,
•monitoring of ASD research and federal services and support activities,
• recommendations to the Director of the National Institutes of Health regarding the strategic plan,
• recommendations regarding the process by which public feedback can be better integrated into ASD decisions,
•strategic plan updates and recommendations to minimize duplication, and
•reports to the President and Congress.

Revises Interagency Committee membership requirements to specify additional federal agencies that might be represented and to modify the non-federal membership.

(Sec. 6) Modifies requirements for reports by the Secretary on ASD activities. Adds a requirement for a report to Congress concerning young adults with ASD and the challenges related to the transition from existing school-based services to those available during adulthood.

(Sec. 7) Authorizes appropriations to carry out the developmental disabilities surveillance and research program, the education, early detection, and intervention program, and the Interagency Committee for FY2015-FY2019.


By Matt Carey
note: I serve as a public member to the IACC but all comments here and elsewhere are my own.

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