Current Issues or Legislation

Current Issues and Legislation

Autism Spectrum Disorders Services Act would establish a planning and demonstration grant program for services to children, transitioning youth, adults, and individuals of any age who may be at risk of injury. It would also authorize grants for protection and advocacy systems and create a national training initiative to better equip teachers and autism services providers. This legislation would also broaden the existing Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee by expanding public representation and by making services to individuals with autism a major focus. Co-chairs Mike Doyle and Chris Smith hope to introduce this legislation soon.

Past Accomplishments

Combating Autism Reauthorization Act: In September 2011, both the House and the Senate passed H.R. 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, and President Obama signed it into law. This legislation reauthorized the Combating Autism Act (CAA) of 2006 for an additional three years, through September 30, 2014.

Combating Autism Act: In December of 2006, both the Senate and the House of Representatives passed S. 843, the Combating Autism Act and the President signed it into law on December 19, 2006.  This legislation authorized $860 million through 2011 in federal funding for autism-related research.  Specifically, the Combating Autism Act provided funding for research and diagnostics related to autism spectrum disorder, early identification of autism, and the promotion of early intervention.  It also established a state-level clearing house for information on autism.  This bill provided much-needed assistance to the 1.5 millions Americans living with autism, although much work needs to be done.

Defense Appropriations:  This funding, allotted under the Army's Research, Development, Education, and Training Center, supports research on autism spectrum disorders in the military.  The findings, however, also benefit the broader autism community as well.