Assemblymember Holden Scores Early Victories for People with Developmental Disabilities

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sacramento, CA – While most advocates must wait until September or October for their proposals to be signed into law, efforts to help people with developmental disabilities have turned into early victories thanks to legislative and budget proposals by Assemblymember Chris Holden. The impacts of these victories will result in $400 million for developmental disability service providers, $3 million for speech-language pathologist training, and better standards for music therapy.

“I’m proud of the work we did to better align our legislative and budget priorities with the simple fact that people born with developmental disabilities possess the exact same human rights as all other members of our society,” said Assemblymember Holden. “We could not have achieved these early victories without the energy and commitment of families, advocates, and service providers of the developmental disability community.”

The new funding for developmental disability service providers will help the nearly 330,000 Californians living with developmental disabilities including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and intellectual disabilities. These funds will enable service providers to continue their work – helping people gain the tools to become successful and productive members of our community.

“Thanks to the work of these service providers, people are now living, working and thriving as members of our communities and it is essential these service providers remain open and funded at appropriate levels,” said Holden.

The $3 million for speech-language pathologist training will help close the speech-language pathologist shortage the state is experiencing. The new funds will expand existing programs in California State University (CSU) system.  Speech and language is one of the largest disabilities in students and is growing each year. Many of these students have developmental or intellectual disabilities.

Lastly, Holden’s music therapy certification bill, AB 1540, strengthens standards for music therapists to protect consumers from potential harm or misrepresentation from individuals that are not board certified music therapists. Music therapists are helpful to a wide range of individuals, from helping children with autism develop their verbal and social skills, to helping veterans manage Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, to working with stroke victims, and many others.

“We took big steps forward on behalf of the developmental disability community this year, but we still have more to do,” said Holden.