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Fowler Arthur, Lear Introduce Legislation to Help Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship Program Recipients

March 1, 2024
Sarah Fowler Arthur News

COLUMBUS –State Representatives Sarah Fowler Arthur (R-Ashtabula) and Beth Lear (R-Galena) introduced legislation to make permanent the remote treatment services that recipients of the Autism and Jon Peterson Scholarship have received for the past three years.

During the pandemic, the legislature made temporary provisions for scholarship, tutoring, and therapy services to be provided remotely. While many of these provisions were committed to continuing law last year, several critical therapy areas of service were left out.

“Our bill language corrects these oversights and ensures that Jon Peterson and Autism Scholarship recipients may receive telehealth therapy services when called for by the child’s IEP,” said Fowler Arthur.

Telehealth services make a significant difference for families in rural or underserved areas where specific providers may not be available.

“I have two grandsons who have needed therapeutic services, and it has vastly improved the quality of life for them and their families,” said Lear. “Speech and language therapy helped our boys to communicate and learn. All Ohio children should have these same opportunities. Distance should not prohibit eligible children from receiving the services they need and have been approved to receive.”

The legislation also addresses a billing issue that has made it difficult for speech-language pathologists and literacy intervention specialists to receive payment for the services they are independently providing to students within the scholarship program. The change is anticipated to increase students’ access to the therapy and tutoring they need to succeed.

The measure awaits a bill number and committee assignment.