Autism awareness has been progressively increasing throughout America, and the government has continued to consider the possible actions they could take in order to improve the overall well-being of individuals with autism in our country. In 2006 President George W. Bush signed into law the Combating Autism Act, a monumental achievement that enabled a plethora of benefits for the autism community .
The Act primarily focused on future generations funding various areas including research on Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, funding for federal and state autism information, education early detection and intervention programs, and funding to facilitate the expansion, intensification, and coordination of autism research at the National Institutes of Health. The Combating Autism Act was reauthorized in 2011, then in 2014 the Act was reauthorized by President Barack Obama and was renamed the Autism CARES (Collaboration, Accountability, Research, and Support) Act. The reauthorization of the law called for $260 million annually through 2019 for autism research, prevalence tracking, screening, professional training and other initiatives. This funding will expire on September 30, 2019, however, a new bill introduced on February 7, 2019 by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives would not only reauthorize the Autism CARES Act but would guarantee considerable enhancements. The proposal would add an additional $368 million to the existing funding level and would renew the law for the next five years. Additionally, the proposal places a larger emphasis on the needs of adults with autism by adding the phrase “across the lifespan” to several provisions.
The proposed bill, H.R. 1058, would ensure continued federal support for everything from autism research to prevalence tracking, screening, professional training and other initiatives. The original version of the Autism Act focused on improving the lives of future generations, and the newest version would continue that goal while simultaneously improving the lives of adult and elderly individuals with autism. The improved bill would have wonderful benefits for the millions of Americans affected by autism and other developmental disabilities.