National & State Scan: Minnesota

  • The lead agency in with oversight of policy and services for children and youth with an ASD is the Department of Education Special Education Program; other state agencies contributing to the work and services include the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services.
  • State-level commission or workgroup pertaining to ASDs: In 2008, the Minnesota Legislature adopted S.R. 176, establishing an Autism Task Force. The task force was comprised of 20 members, including legislators, representatives of state agencies, and other professionals with an interest in autism. In 2011 the Task Force was charged by the Minnesota Legislature in 2011 to develop an autism spectrum disorder statewide strategic plan that focuses on improving awareness, early diagnosis, and intervention and on ensuring delivery of treatment and services for individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder – including the coordination and accessibility of cost-effective treatments and services throughout the individual’s lifetime
  • Notable state-level transition-related activities specific to students with disabilities include: University of Minnesota houses an Institute on Community Integration that is engaged in secondary transition planning, including a range of projects and materials related to the topic the University also provides a technical assistance program available to state education agencies and local school districts for improving transition; also a Career Pathways and Technical Education Advisory Task Force was established by state legislature in 2013with an emphasis on transition, and with some language around disabilities; PACER is the main information and resource center for parents/families with children with disabilities in the state. They have their own transition-related materials including workshops and trainings. They also a partner with other organizations for secondary transition initiatives and supportive programs.
  • Unique customized employment programs within the state for individuals with an ASD include: Pathways to Employment (PTE) is a program offered through the Department of Human Services in partnership with other government and community based organizations to help individuals with disabilities successfully enter and maintain their efforts in the workforce; Erick’s Minnesota Adventures is an innovated program specifically for young adults with an ASD. It provides them with the opportunity to work as tour guides, sharing their individual talents and areas of expertise with guests
  • The percentage of youth with special health care needs who received the services necessary to make transitions to all aspects of adult life, including adult health care, work, and independence, as reported in 2009/10 for MN, 47.1% (n=345)