Governor Rick Snyder signed an executive order on Thursday that would establish an Autism Council within the state Department of Community Health to oversee Michigan's Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) State Plan.

"It is important that we work together to identify autism disorders as soon as possible. The sooner the diagnosis, the quicker patients can receive treatment, and the likelier they are to reaching their fullest potential," said Snyder. "Effective coordination is necessary to achieve these goals and the Michigan Autism Council will help ensure our state plan becomes a reality, so individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families can live better lives."

Executive Order 2012-11 creates the council as an advisory body to review, adopt and implement the State Plan. The plan will provide for comprehensive, lifespan supports to individuals with ASD and their families through access to information and resources, coordination of services, and implementation of evidenced-based practices. The council must also update the plan every year.

Snyder said having a plan is key when implementing coverage, enabling the entities that are engaged in research, education and treatment to be better aligned and work more efficiently toward more effective outcomes for people with ASD.

The group will consist of 12 members appointed by the governor; four members appointed for terms expiring Sept. 30, 2014, four members appointed for terms expiring Sept. 30, 2015 and four members with terms expiring on Sept. 30, 2016. After the initial appointments, members of the council will serve four-year terms.

The council is similar to what other states have implemented.