TOMS RIVER – The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders have thrown their support behind a bill that would provide $1.8 billion for autism
According to Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th), who authored the bill, it would authorize more than $1.8 billion over five years for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
Smith’s bill also helps adults with autism who he said are “are often misdiagnosed, underdiagnosed and overlooked. Language throughout the bill emphasizes that causes, diagnosis, detection, prevention and treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) must be throughout the lifespan of a person. According to Drexel University’s AJ Drexel Autism Center, about fifty to sixty thousand children “age out” to adulthood each year creating challenges for education, housing, employment and access to health care,” he said.
The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently passed a resolution supporting Smith’s efforts and urging the full passage of the act by the United States Senate. The House of Representatives passed the bill July 24.
“As a lifelong educator, I have seen the difference early intervention can make,” said Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari. “This legislation which would reauthorize federal programs that assist children, adults and families with autism is a key component in providing needed help and also opportunity to people with autism.”
Vicari said more programs are needed for adults with autism spectrum disorder and this bill will help provide the funding for long lasting remedies.