Dr. Barbara Firestone appointed to the California Policy Center for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council


Widely recognized for her leadership, vision and innovation, Dr. Barbara Firestone, Pres. & CEO, The Help Group has been newly appointed to the California Policy Center for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Advisory Council. The Policy Center, founded by former California Senate President Pro Tempore, Don Perata, is a non-partisan think tank established to inform, support, and improve upon statewide policies that impact the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Center’s focus is to identify priorities and challenges within the IDD community and provide policy recommendations based on objective, evidence-based research, data, and policy analysis to help inform the community, as well as the policymaking process.

With a commitment to promoting autism awareness, early identification and the development and expansion of education and treatment opportunities for children, adolescents and young adults, Dr. Firestone continues to play a key role in California autism public policy efforts.

Dr. Firestone has served on the Stanford Neurodiversity Project Workgroup on Autism Employment addressing the area of the development of employment opportunities for young people on the spectrum. In 2009, she was appointed Chair of the Statewide Coordinating Council of Autism Taskforces of the Senate Select Committee on Autism & Related Disorders by the California Senate President Pro Tem and Select Committee Chair, former Senator Darrell Steinberg. In 2005, Dr. Louis Vismara, former senior policy advisor to Senate President Pro Tempore, Don Perata, and Dr. Firestone met with Senator Perata to emphasize the urgency for programs to address the needs of individuals with autism and their families. As a result, Senator Perata introduced the legislation that led to the establishment of the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism that was sponsored by The Help Group. In 2005, Dr. Firestone was appointed Vice Chair of the trailblazing California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism.