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Barclay hosts autism forum

Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski), Central New York Chairman of the Assembly Republican Regional Forums on Autism Awareness, Thursday joined parents, caregivers and autism advocates at the Onondaga County Legislative

Chamber to discuss their experiences with the disorder.

Autism occurs in all racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups and is four times more likely to occur in boys than in girls. According to the U.S.

Centers for Disease Control, one in 150 children may be diagnosed with autism.

"I am happy to bring this statewide forum to Central New York. Autism is prevalent in every community and I felt it was very important to hear from families and professionals in and around my district," said Barclay.

On the national level, the number of children diagnosed with autism has increased by 500 percent over the past ten years. In New York State alone, the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities serves 16,000 individuals with autism.

"The state must act and bring true relief and assistance to families coping with the difficulties of autism. By having an open dialogue, we can get a

better sense of what areas are in need of help. In addition to studying the deficiencies, we can look at what programs are working and how we can encourage similar programs throughout the state," said Barclay.

Among those in attendance were representatives from ARC Onondaga, Oswego County ARC, ARISE, Autism Awareness National, Autistic Piano Express, Central New York Autism Society of America, Dietary & Natural Intervention for Autism, Central New York Enable, Families for the Effective Treatment of Autism of Central New York, InterActive Therapy Group, New York State Self Advocacy Center and many concerned parents.

"I am moved by the dedication of people who serve those with autism. They have committed so much of their time and passion to improve the lives of others," said Barclay."I am eager to meet with my Assembly Republican colleagues to discuss the issues brought up today and to work toward

legislative solutions that will improve the quality of life for all autistic individuals in Central New York and throughout the state."

Autism Spectrum Disorders(ASDs) are developmental disabilities that cause impairments in social interaction and communication, marked by the presence of unusual behaviors and interests. Many people with ASDs have different ways of learning, paying attention and reacting to various situations. The thinking and learning abilities of people with ASDs can vary from the gifted to the severely challenged.An ASD begins before the age of three and lasts throughout a person's life.

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