Oregon Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Our History

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The Commission’s charge is to engage stakeholders, identify priorities, promote the efficient use of limited resources, and create and facilitate the implementation of long-term strategic plans, so we can improve the lives of Oregonians who experience Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

The roots of the Commission stretch back to the spring of 2008 when the Oregon Autism Project, a workgroup consisting of legislators, agency personnel, and parent advocates was established.

The workgroup began investigating the current status of services to those experiencing ASD and charting a path toward a better future by reviewing the successes and failures of previous Oregon efforts to address the challenges presented by ASD. After months of research, meetings and a listening tour that reached Oregonians from every corner of the State the group presented their findings. Their report, Serving and Supporting People with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Their Families, identified issues concerning service to those with ASD and offered a broad vision of the changes that need to take place in order for Oregon to meet the needs of its citizens.

The work of the Oregon Autism Project highlighted the need for improved coordination of State services and for a continuation of efforts to devise an enhanced system of service. Governor Kulongoski began working with members of the Oregon Autism Project to establish a Commission that would identify the steps necessary to change the status quo and make a difference in individuals’ daily lives.

This led to an executive order signed in 2011. Soon after the Governor and Legislative leaders began the careful process of selecting members for the thirteen person Commission.


The Governor’s Executive Order

Oregon, like many states across the nation, has experienced a rapid increase in the number of individuals being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and both the public and private systems have had difficulty responding. Services are often fragmented and inconsistent around the state. Oregon is not taking full advantage of the wealth of knowledge, best practices and skill currently available in the state and elsewhere. Oregon lacks a means to provide accurate, up-to-date information to families and professionals regarding interventions, services, supports and expected outcomes. There is currently no consistent approach to increasing the capacity of agencies and communities to support individuals with ASD.

The rapid increase in the numbers of individuals being identified with ASD, the complexity and diversity of their needs, limited resources, and the consequent pressure on families, communities, existing education and social service systems, requires a more thoughtful, coordinated approach to funding, service development and delivery. Executive Order 09-07 established the Oregon Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorder and charged it with creating a 10 Year Strategic Plan on Autism Spectrum Disorder to address the issues confronting Oregon. This Plan was submitted to the Governor in December 2010. Executive Order 09-07 provides that the Oregon Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorder expires on July 1, 2011.

There exists an ongoing need to guide the implementation of the 10 Year Strategic Plan on Autism Spectrum Disorder. Therefore, this Order continues the Oregon Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorder to implement the 10 Year Strategic Plan.

Now Therefore, It Is Hereby Directed and Ordered:

The Oregon Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorder (“Commission”) previously established in Executive Order 09-07 shall continue its work as modified by this Executive Order.

The purpose of the Commission shall be to:

  • Guide implementation of the 10 Year Strategic Plan and identify biennial goals for the state of Oregon by providing leadership establishing priorities, creating key performance measures, facilitating collaboration, ensuring support and monitoring outcomes.
  • Expand and strengthen formal and informal partnerships among systems serving individuals with ASD, including any ASD related expert panels.
  • Identify and incorporate any needed revisions to the 10 Year Strategic Plan to address gaps, barriers, and solutions for individuals with ASD.
  • Convene, facilitate, and lead key stakeholders in developing, promoting, and implementing recommendations from the 10 Year Strategic Plan.
  • Provide regular updates on the status of plan implementation and outcomes to the Governor, Legislative Assembly and the public.
  • The Commission shall consist of 15 members, who are knowledgeable about Autism Spectrum Disorder or about systems that serve people with Autism Spectrum Disorder or both.
  • The Commission may create as many subcommittees as it deems necessary to carry out the scope and mission of the Commission. Each subcommittee shall include a Commission member and may be composed of members outside of the Commission. Subcommittees should strive for geographic diversity in membership.
  • The Commission shall meet at least quarterly and more often as the Commission determines is necessary and as funding allows.
  • The Commission shall submit a report to the Governor and the appropriate Legislative Committee each year, no later than the fall prior to the annual legislative session.
  • The Commission shall continue its work as set forth in this Executive Order until the Executive Order is revoked.


Signed by Governor John A. Kitzhaber, M.D.
Salem, Oregon on June 24, 2011