Governor Susana Martinez visited the Santa Fe Children's Museum this afternoon to announce the completion of new Public Education Department rules that will make it easier for the parents of over 1300 children with autism in New Mexico to find the best individual education plan to fit the unique needs of their children. The Governor was joined by parents of children with autism, advocacy organizations and state officials who support the new rules, including Public Education Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera.
"Our children with special needs deserve every chance to succeed, and their dedicated families need all the support we can give them," said Governor Martinez. "These families face tough challenges every day; these new rules should help ensure that the state serves as a resource to be leaned upon, not another obstacle to overcome."
The new amended state rules will help educators and parents employ eleven different strategies for helping students with autism. New rules governing education require individualized education program (IEP) teams to consider 11 strategies or best practices when developing an IEP for a student with autism. It will be up to the IEP team to determine which strategies will be used in the IEP to meet the individual needs of a student.
During the 2011 general legislative session, the autism education plan development legislation was passed by the Legislature, but vetoed by the Governor due to the fact that language in the bill would have jeopardized $90 million dollars of federal funds. These new rules accomplish the goals of the original legislation while ensuring the security of the federal funds.
The final rules will be published on Friday July 29, 2011 in the New Mexico Register 6.31.2 NMAC.