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Washington Autism Advisory Council

WAAC Meeting Materials


The Washington Autism Advisory Council (WAAC) is a statewide partnership of autism organizations, family members, medical providers, educators, and state agencies working together to influence policy and services for individuals with autism and their families.  The council meets twice a year to share news and updates about autism-specific events, programs, and activities as well as to address current challenges faced in access to services and supports for those impacted by autism.  Examples of recent topics addressed include the needs of adolescents and adults with autism and updates on autism insurance coverage.

The WAAC consists of membership from:

  • Autism Organizations
  • Children’s Hospitals and Regional Autism Centers
  • Educational Service Districts and School Districts
  • Family Members of Individuals with ASD
  • Family Support Organizations
  • Service Providers
  • Special Education Support Center
  • Washington State Agencies:
    • Department of Health
      Department of Social and Health Services (DDA)
      Developmental Disabilities Council
      Department of Early Learning
      Health Care Authority
      Office of the Education Ombudsman
      Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
      University of Washington (Education, Research, and Treatment)
      Washington State University

WAAC Meeting Materials

November 3, 2017 WAAC Meeting

Location: SeaTac International Airport Conference Center

Meeting Purpose: To provide a collaborative opportunity to discuss ways to improve access to evidence based treatment and medical services for persons with Autism throughout Washington State.  



Presentations from the day

March 4, 2016 WAAC Meeting

Location: SeaTac International Airport Conference Center

Meeting Goals:

1. To better understand the needs of adolescents and adults with autism.
2. Share information regarding state resources for adults and adolescent transition
3. Share information regarding model programs for higher education support, residential living, and vocational training and        support
4. Share information on appropriate healthcare provision and healthcare access challenges

Agenda with Meeting Minutes


October 9, 2015 WAAC Meeting

Location: SeaTac International Airport Conference Center

 Meeting Goals:

  1. To better understand the needs of adolescents and adults with autism.
  2. To share news and updates about autism specific events, programs, and activities.
  3. Consider improvements made in autism insurance coverage and areas for improvement.
  4. Develop a plan for sustainability of WAAC.

Meeting Minutes

Topic Lead
Welcome and Introductions Amy Huntley, Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy (WAAA)
Professional Development: Identifying and Addressing the Needs of Adolescents and Adults with Autism

Panel of Representatives:

  • Dr. Gary Stobbe, Seattle Children’s Autism Center & UW
  • Dr. Beth Ellen Davis, UW LEND
  • Therese Vafaeezadeh, Seattle Children’s  Autism Center & Tavon Center
Presentation from International Meeting for Autism Research Dr. Charles Cowan, Seattle Children’s Autism Center
Update on Community First Choice  and new Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) rules



Ann Whitehall, DSHS
Share about 4,000 new Individual and Family Service openings

Handout: IFS and SSP in lieu of IFS: A Side by Side Comparison

Sheila Collins, DSHS
Presentation/Discussion on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force draft report on early screening Dr. Wendy Stone, UW READI Lab
Working lunch opportunity to network Membership
Update and Activities – Information about organizational activities and other statewide events of interest to the autism community

Updates from the Health Care Authority (HCA) on autism coverage, waitlist numbers, and service locations; and efforts of the Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) collaborative Lin Payton, HCA
 Updates on insurance coverage and challenges that still exist for children and adults accessing care Arzu Forough, WAAA
Discussion of future coordination and sustainability of WAAC, revisit goals and mission of WAAC Maria Nardella, DOH

History of the Washington State Autism Advisory Council

The Council began as the Combatting Autism Advisory Council (CAAC)  in 2009 to guide the work of two competitive federal grants awarded by the US Dept. of Health and Human Services under the Combating Autism Act of 2006.  The two federal grants were awarded to:

The work of the Council built on the recommendations of the Caring for Washington Individuals with Autism Task Force (created in 2005 by Senate Bill 5321) in its December 2006 Final Report to the Governor and State Legislature.

The Council has collaborated on many activities including:

  • Annual summits for Multidisciplinary Diagnostic Center Teams and Communities
  • Community Asset Mapping to improve collaborative identification and services for children with autism and related disabilities and their families
  • Autism screening and assessment training for community service providers
  • Identification and promotion of materials for families who have children and youth on the autism spectrum
  • Promoting universal developmental screening

The original three-year grants ended in the summer of 2011, but the Washington Autism Advisory Council and many of its activities continue. The original “backbone” organizational support for the WAAC was provided by DOH and UW LEND.  LEND provided support into 2012, followed by the Developmental Disabilities Council (DDC) from 2012 through Spring 2015.  The most recent meeting October 9, 2015 was coordinated by  Washington Autism Alliance and Advocacy (WAAA), with space provided by the DDC.  Several organizations including WAAA (Redmond), the Northwest Autism Center (Spokane), and the Lynchpin Foundation (Yakima) have taken the lead in organizing the next meeting in March, 2016.