The incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is increasing nationally and Nebraska is no exception. In the late 1990s, educators and parents requested the Special Populations Office of the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) to take a lead role in assisting school districts in providing appropriate services for students with ASD.
The Special Education Advisory Council appointed an ad hoc committee comprised of educators, parents, university and state agency representatives to create a Nebraska State Plan for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The State Plan was completed in 2000 and implementation began in 2002.
The Nebraska Department of Education, Special Populations Office, oversees the Nebraska ASD Network. Five ASD Regions have been established in order to serve regional needs. Annette Wragge, the State ASD Network Coordinator coordinates state and regional level training. The Nebraska Department of Education also works collaboratively with the four campuses of the University of Nebraska System, which serves in an advisory capacity regarding training.
The ASD State Standing Committee is a Standing Committee of SEAC. It consists of approximately 25 members who are appointed by the Commisioner of Education. The committee is made up of at least 3 members from each ASD region to provide for statewide geographic representation.
The committee provides recommendations to SEAC and the ASD Network on delivery of appropriate services for children with ASD.
The goals of the Nebraska ASD Network are to:
- Build and enhance the capacity of Nebraska schools and families in supporting children across the autism disorders spectrum
- Provide training and technical assistance to Nebraska educators in providing appropriate services to students across the autism spectrum from birth to age 21
The Nebraska ASD Network is funded by the Nebraska Department of Education, Special Populations Office, through IDEA Part B Set-Aside funds.