The Autism CARES Act now has a hearing date!
We have exciting news regarding the reauthorization of the Autism CARES Act. The act has now been added to the agenda for a hearing! The Health Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce is holding a legislative hearing on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 10 a.m. entitled “Reauthorizing Vital Health Programs for American Families.” During this hearing, the Autism CARES Act will be discussed along with three other laws pending legislation.
We MUST act now to let our representatives know we are here and to be the voice for children with autism! Learn what you can do to make sure your voice is heard.
About the Autism CARES Act Families with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) face significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. Needs for people on the autism spectrum can range greatly from gifted to severely challenged with some needing more help in their daily lives than others.
No two individuals with autism are the same, and many families depend on government resources and opportunities in their community to help support them.
The Autism CARES Act funds many important autism resources. In fact, it is the primary source of federal funding for autism research and services. The CARES Act directly influences the range and quality of support available for children and adults on the autism spectrum.
In order for families to continue receiving these important resources and services, the law MUST BE reauthorized by September 30, 2019.
What is the Autism CARES Act?
Signed into law in 2006 by President George W. Bush, the Combating Autism Act was created to increase the federal government’s response to the increasing numbers of individuals diagnosed with ASD. It was later reauthorized as the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act in 2014.
The Autism CARES Act helped to expand the number of health professionals trained to screen, diagnose, and develop treatment interventions for those diagnosed with ASD. Because of it, over $3.1 billion has been dedicated for autism to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
What programs and resources does the Autism CARES Act support?
The Autism CARES Act supports everything from autism research to prevalence tracking, autism screening, professional training and many other initiatives. It also supports the development of treatments for medical conditions associated with autism.
Much of the research supported by the law, comes from the NIH. The NIH conducts research aimed at improving outcomes for children and adults with autism. This vital federal research goes hand-in-hand with the Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) to communicate their findings to Congress, government agencies, and the public. The law spells out the need for such research and the need for surveillance, education, and early detection and intervention.
Autism Data and Surveillance
Since its enactment, the Autism CARES Act has helped to increase public awareness and surveillance at the CDC. There it created a critical infrastructure that has served to increase education of the autism spectrum. Because of this law, the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network was created to report the number of children in different areas of the country living with ASD. From it, the CDC also developed the Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) Network, a group of centers working to help identify factors that may put children at risk for ASD and other developmental disabilities.
Autism Training and Education
With a shortage of trained personnel to screen, diagnose and treat individuals with autism or developmental disabilities, the Autism CARES Act authorized the creation of the Maternal and Child Health Branch of the Health Resources and Services Administration. Through programs such as the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) and the Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics (DBP), professionals are fully trained to provide effective ASD treatment and support.
The implementation of these programs resulted in reduced wait times for diagnostic evaluations, a reduction in the age of diagnosis, and assistance in facilitating entry into effective interventions.
How has the Autism CARES Act helped individuals with autism?
Because of Autism CARES Act, scientific developments have set reliable diagnosis ages of 18-24 months, increasing the chances of early interventions. It has also established how these timely interventions make a lifetime of difference to children with autism.
The law helped fund research to better understand co-morbidities, the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions. Additionally, the Autism CARES Act has helped researchers better understand the biological causes of autism and in turn, assist therapist in creating effective, individualized treatment plans for those on the autism spectrum.
It’s not too late to advocate.
This law is the most comprehensive autism spectrum disorder legislation ever passed by Congress. It has contributed greatly to the lives of individuals diagnosed with autism, but we still have a long way to go.
The Autism CARES Act must be reauthorized by September 30, 2019 or all of the activities, programs, and research funded by it will end.
If it is not reauthorized, funding under the law will cease that provides interdisciplinary diagnostic services for hundreds of thousands of children and training for thousands of graduate students. Additionally, important research being conducted around the nation will be eliminated.
What’s next? Here’s what you can do!
- Find your local Representatives by googling “Who represents me?”
- Learn more online
- Use this information to contact your local Representative (tweet, tag, call, or write):
If your Representative is a co-sponsor:
- Tweet this: @RepXYZ, Thank you for co-sponsoring the Autism CARES Act of 2019, H.R. 1058/S. 427 that supports federal funding for #autism research, services, training and monitoring. #WhyAutismCARES #bluesprig
- Call (202) 224-3121 to thank your local representative for co-sponsoring the Autism CARES Act of 2019, H.R. 1058/S. 427 that supports federal funding for autism research, services, training and monitoring
- Write a letter to your representative thanking them for co-sponsoring the Autism CARES Act of 2019, H.R. 1058/S. 427 that supports federal funding for autism research, services, training and monitoring
If your Representative is NOT a co-sponsor:
- Tweet this: @RepXYZ, Please co-sponsor the Autism CARES Act of 2019, H.R. 1058/S. 427 to support federal funding for #autism research, services, training and monitoring. #WhyAutismCARES #bluesprig
- Call (202) 224-3121 to ask your local representative to co-sponsor the Autism CARES Act of 2019, H.R. 1058/S. 427 to support federal funding for autism research, services, training and monitoring
- Write a letter to your representative asking them to co-sponsor the Autism CARES Act of 2019, H.R. 1058/S. 427 to support federal funding for autism research, services, training and monitoring