April is Autism Awareness Month

— April is Autism Awareness Month. This month-long observation aims to educate the public about autism and the many services available to help the 1.5 million American individuals and families dealing with this developmental disorder. There’s a growing incidence of autism spectrum disorders across the state and across the country, and we need to ensure we’re making the proper accommodations for those individuals. This month draws needed public attention to a serious and often under-treated condition.

Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that severely affects the way an individual can relate to others socially, potentially hampering an individual’s ability to communicate and learn. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that the number of children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder is 1 in 88 nationwide, making it one of the most common disorders affecting people today. The New York State Interagency Task Force on Autism identified "five pressing needs" of the growing population of New Yorkers diagnosed with autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). These needs include coordination of state services, early identification, lifelong service delivery, increased dissemination of information and coordination of research efforts.

A diagnosis of autism presents a real challenge for the families of those who suffer from this disorder. It is important to provide support to the growing number of children and families affected by ASDs to ensure that they receive the care and support they desperately need and deserve and that is why I have supported legislation that would promote the early diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders without delay or interruption of treatment may cause irreversible affects (A.536) This legislation would relieve families from the burden of the high cost of care.

For more information about Autism Awareness, visit autism-society.org.

Al Stirpe represents the 127th Assembly District. He can be reached by calling 452-1115 or emailing stirpea@assembly.ny.us.

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