The Texas Autism Council was established September 1st, 2016. They advise, and make recommendations to the HHSC executive commissioner in order to address the needs of people of all ages that have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and ensure that all available resources are coordinated to meet their needs.
Their primary functions and responsibilities include the following:
- making recommendations to HHSC through regularly scheduled meetings and HHSC staff assigned to the council; and
- other tasks consistent with its purpose that are requested by the executive commissioner.
November 1 of every even-numbered year, the council prepares a report to the executive commissioner, governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the House of Representatives that summarizes the council’s identified requirements, and makes recommendations regarding the amount or quality of services for persons with autism.
Organization and Members
The Texas Autism Council consists of no more than 24 members, all of whom must have knowledge of and interest in ASD. . All members must have knowledge of and an interest in autism spectrum disorder. Each public member is appointed by the executive commissioner for a two-year term, and the majority of public members are family members of people with ASD. Each ex officio member is appointed by the commissioner or executive head of the represented agency.
- Melinda Bird, M.Ed., BCBA – Big Spring
- Donna Dempsey – Fort Worth
- Wesley H. Dotson, Ph.D. – Lubbock
- Daniel Durany – Haltom City
- Nicole L. Fanguy – The Woodlands
- Ann Hart – Austin
- Pamela Rollins, Ph.D. – Dallas
- John Roppolo – San Marcos
- Byron Ross, Ph.D. – Houston
- Stephanie Sokolosky, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LPA, LSSP – Harlingen
- Leisa M. Stewart, BSW, LBSW – Beaumont
- Tonya Taylor – Breckenridge
- Hsuying C. Ward, Ph.D. – Rancho Viejo
- Ivy Zwicker – San Antonio
Ex officio Members:
- Dana Williamson – Texas Health and Human Services Commission
- Jennifer Kaut – Texas Workforce Commission
Ex officio members represent the following agencies:
- Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services
- Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
- Texas Department of State Health Services
- Texas Health and Human Services Commission
- Texas Education Agency
- Texas Workforce Commission