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President Bush Signs Combating Autism Act into Law

Posted Sep 12 2008 11:32am

In another historic day for persons with autism disorder US President George W Bush signed into law the Combating Autism Act. The bill dramatically increases US federal funding for autism including research which could well benefit all persons with autism.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/12/20061219-3.html

"For the millions of Americans whose lives are affected by autism, today is a day of hope. The Combating Autism Act of 2006 will increase public awareness about this disorder and provide enhanced federal support for autism research and treatment. By creating a national education program for doctors and the public about autism, this legislation will help more people recognize the symptoms of autism. This will lead to early identification and intervention, which is critical for children with autism. I am proud to sign this bill into law and confident that it will serve as an important foundation for our Nation s efforts to find a cure for autism."

- President George W. Bush, 12/19/06

Today, President Bush Signed The Combating Autism Act Of 2006. This Act authorizes expanded activities related to autism research, prevention, and treatment through FY 2011. There are more than 1.5 million cases of autism in the United States.

  • Since The President Took Office, National Institutes Of Health (NIH) Funding For Autism-Related Research Has Increased By Over 80 Percent From $56 Million In FY 2001 To An Estimated $101 Million In The FY 2007 Budget, Including Support For Autism Centers of Excellence. In addition, the Budget includes approximately $15 million at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for autism surveillance and research, including five regional Centers of Excellence for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology. In October, CDC initiated a $5.9 million study to help identify factors that may put children at risk for autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.

The Combating Autism Act Enhances Research, Surveillance, And Education Regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Act Authorizes Research Under NIH To Address The Entire Scope Of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism, sometimes called "classical autism," is the most common condition in a group of developmental disorders known as the autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). Other ASDs include Asperger syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS).

The Act Authorizes Regional Centers Of Excellence For Autism Spectrum Disorder Research And Epidemiology. These Centers collect and analyze information on the number, incidence, correlates, and causes of ASD and other developmental disabilities. The Act also authorizes grants to States for collection, analysis, and dissemination of data related to autism.

The Act Authorizes Activities To Increase Public Awareness Of Autism, Improve The Ability Of Health Care Providers To Use Evidence-Based Interventions, And Increase Early Screening For Autism. The Act authorizes the Secretary of Health and Human Services to:

  • Provide information and education on ASD and other developmental disabilities to increase public awareness of developmental milestones;
  • Promote research into the development and validation of reliable screening tools for ASD and other developmental disabilities and disseminate information regarding those screening tools;
  • Promote early screening of individuals at higher risk for ASD and other developmental disabilities as early as practicable;
  • Increase the number of individuals who are able to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of ASD and other developmental disabilities;
  • Increase the number of individuals able to provide evidence-based interventions for individuals diagnosed with ASD or other developmental disabilities; and
  • Promote the use of evidence-based interventions for individuals at higher risk for ASD and other developmental disabilities as early as practicable.

The Act Calls On The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) To Enhance Information Sharing.The IACC provides a forum to facilitate the efficient and effective exchange of information about autism activities, programs, policies, and research among the Federal government, several non-profit groups, and the public. The Combating Autism Act requires the IACC to provide information and recommendations on ASD-related programs, and to continue its work to develop and update annually a strategic plan for ASD research.


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