Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced that late last night, U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation to combat Autism. The bill, which also passed the House of Representatives last week, now heads to the President’s desk for his signature. The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act is critical, bipartisan legislation that will extend programs authorized under the original Combating Autism Act (CAA) to continue for an additional three years.
“Cases of autism are increasing at an alarming rate,” said Senator Gillibrand, a sponsor of the legislation. “It is vital that we invest in new research that will benefit the lives of millions. We know that early intervention is one of the best ways to ensure a child’s long term success. This legislation will help provide essential services, treatment and support for families.”
The CAA provides for autism surveillance programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as intervention and training programs at the Health Resources and Services Administration. Additionally, this legislation allows for the continuation of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which is responsible for advising the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on autism polices, coordinating the federal response to autism and developing the annual strategic plan for autism research. These programs have been critical in advancing research on the causes, diagnosis and treatments of autism. The CAA sunsets on September 30.
Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disability in the country, affecting on average 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys. An estimated 48,000 children across New York suffer from Autism – more than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined.