April is National Autism Awareness Month
Congressman Brian Higgins spoke about autism spectrum disorder in a speech on the House Floor as part of Autism Awareness Month. The month of April is used to shine light on ASD, increase knowledge of the condition, and embrace those who are affected by it.
Until May 2013, autism was classified as multiple distinct conditions such as autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified, and Asperger syndrome, all of which now fall under the category of ASD. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 1 and 2 percent of the world's population has autism.
"One in 68 children are diagnosed with autism and 3.5 million Americans are living with it.
"April is National Autism Awareness Month, a time to direct attention to - and appreciate the special gifts of - these Americans. And in Congress, it is time to redouble our commitment to them by supporting:
•The Autism CARES Act, which authorizes research and early intervention programs.
•The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which includes early intervention and education services for people with autism.
•The BRAIN Initiative at the National Institutes of Health.
"In Western New York I have been proud to support $5.7 million in federal grants for promising work at the Institute for Autism Research at Canisius College.
"There is a great deal to be done to piece together the mysteries of Autism and support the individuals and families living with it every day."
Higgins is a co-founder of the National Institutes of Health caucus and staunch advocate for medical research funding, including cosponsorship of the 21st Century Cures Act, which would speed up the creation and implementation of new treatments for conditions, including autism, with a focus on individualized approaches.