In April 2001, Howard Hendrick, the director of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, brought together stakeholders "to discuss the development of a comprehensive plan that would move the state to the cutting edge of research, service delivery and supports for people with autism of all ages in the state of Oklahoma." The Autism Working Group was convened by the Developmental Disabilities Services Division of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the Lee Mitchener Tolbert Center for Developmental Disabilities (Department of Rehabilitation Science, College of Allied Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center). Participants included representatives of the primary agencies and providers serving people with autism in Oklahoma, representatives of higher education, and parents of people with autism. The Individuals with Autism and Their Families, Oklahoma Plan details the vision and recommendations of the Autism Working Group.
The Individuals with Autism and Their Families, Oklahoma Plan developed by the Autism Working Group over a two-year period included information collected from parents, professionals, and other people around the state with information, expertise, or experience with people with autism spectrum disorders. The vision for Oklahomans with autism and their families, key findings, and the plan for moving towards the vision was detailed by the Autism Working Group. The plan will be implemented purposefully and thoughtfully through a collaboration of multiple agencies and resources in Oklahoma. As the first step in implementation, the Oklahoma Autism Network was established in 2003.