Tap Into Belmar/Lake Como News Article'Rep. Smith’s Autism Cares Act Becomes Law, Providing $1.8 Billion in Research Funding'
By TAPINTO BELMAR/LAKE COMO STAFF AND OFFICE OF U.S. REP. CHRIS SMITH, FOURTH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
October 6, 2019 at 9:15 PMThis article was published online at:
Nearly $2 billion in research funding to help children and adults with autism — legislation authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th District) — has been signed into law by President Donald Trump.
The Autism Cares Act of 2019 will fund critical biomedical autism research, as well as the development of best practices to enhance the lives of persons with autism, said Smith, who co-sponsored the bill with Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) “We need answers now and treatment options and interventions that work.”
Smith said that the new law expands government programs to include older persons with autism “who were — and are — often misdiagnosed, underdiagnosed and overlooked.”
Specifically, aging out of services is a hurdle every parent or caretaker of a child with autism inevitably faces, Smith said. “Children grow up and become adults, and then lose their education and support services. But autism is a lifetime neurological disorder, and young adults with autism continue to need their services,” he explained.
Between 70,700 and 111,600 children ‘age out’ into adulthood each year, creating challenges for education, housing, employment and access to health care, according to the AJ Drexel Autism Center at Drexel University, Philadelphia.
“The Autism Cares Act recognizes the problem of aging out and ensures that the federal government continues to help hundreds of thousands of young adults with autism and their parents by funding research and support programs,” said Smith, whose district represents Belmar and Lake Como.
Specifically, the Autism Cares Act of 2019:
New Jersey remains the nation’s leader in having the highest percentage of children with autism spectrum disorders, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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