The Autism Cares Act of 2019 is signed into law, could benefit local centers

$1.8 billion allocated to Autism research and more

Meghan Owens’ daughter is 5 years old and was diagnosed with Autism last year.

“Yeah it’s hard but there’s hope at the end of it and there can be progress made.”

She has been taking her daughter to the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center for Autism in Joplin, since her diagnosis. She says they have helped her daughter tremendously.

“She’s come a long way with her feeding, like night and day, so I’m very thankful for the feeding clinic and the program, and then we just started speech and I feel like she’s going to make a lot of progress with that too.”

Centers like the Bill and Virginia Leffen Center could benefit from the Autism Cares Act of 2019. The legislation was signed into law on Monday, September 30th by President Trump.

Today, I was proud to sign the Autism CARES Bill! We support research for Americans with Autism and their families. You are not forgotten, we are fighting for you!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 1, 2019

“Anything that will increase awareness, surveillance, and training and access to services is a good thing for our community, for any disability category, and the fact that it focused in on Autism because of that significant increase over the years I think is a good thing” said Clinical Director of the Leffen Center, Kristy Parker.

The Autism Cares Act will allocate $1.8 billion over the next 5 years in funding for research, programs and treatment and increases the annual budget on Autism efforts to $369.7 million through 2024. Some funding will go towards Autism research grants.

The Care Act is reauthorizing numerous programs across the country to ensure high quality service to people with Autism.

This also includes the expansion of government programs to include the entire lifespan of people on the Autism spectrum.

“Historically there’s only been funding in services for people under 18 and as we all know just because you have your 18th birthday doesn’t mean you no longer have Autism. Autism is a lifelong diagnosis so continuing to look at the best way to serve individuals and meet their needs from 18 and older is a big thing that this legislation has done” added Parker.

Parker says the inclusion of adults into the Autism Cares Act is extremely important.

“They have hopes and dreams, they have things they want to achieve and that they want to do with their lives. Sometimes they’ve had limited options and I’m hopeful with this legislation that maybe we can offer more options for them to pursue their dreams.”

Parker says they are excited for the possibility of applying for grants, and seeing where the future goes with Autism research.

For Meghan Owens, she is excited for the new possibilities for her daughter.

“I think it’s going to bring a lot of comfort to people that are getting diagnosed right now and have been dealing with diagnosis.”

If you would like to take a look at the bill, click here.


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