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Reps. Smith and Doyle, Autism Society of America Push Landmark Legislation on World Autism Awareness Day
Date:4/1/2008

Autism Caucus Co-Chairs and Leading Grassroots Autism Association Push for Services Worldwide

BETHESDA, Md., April 1, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Nations has designated April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day. To mark this historic occasion, the Autism Society of America, the World Autism Organization and the Co-Chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Coalition for Autism Research and Education (C.A.R.E.), Rep. Chris Smith and Rep. Mike Doyle, will hold a press conference on the Cannon Terrace to build support for critical legislation that would provide needed autism services in the U.S. and around the world.

An estimated 30 million people in the world have an autism spectrum disorder, 1.5 million in America alone. Every day in America, 60 families learn their child has autism. These families face challenges of care, support, education, financial hardship and medical and health care issues that make autism a national public health issue. Though there is no cure, autism is treatable and individuals with autism have tremendous potential.

"We have an epidemic on our hands and we need to immediately and aggressively address it on every front," Smith said.

Members of the House of Representatives are working so that the U.S. will become the first nation to initiate an effort to establish a global autism assistance program. In February 2008, a bi-partisan group of legislators joined Congressmen Smith and Doyle in introducing the Global Autism Assistance Act, (HR 5446). This landmark legislation will establish a global health and education grant program related to autism spectrum disorders and provide support to families, educational institutions, clinics and medical centers in developing nations.

"We will know we have succeeded when people on the autism spectrum become an accepted part of the human condition," said ASA President and CEO Lee Grossman. "While this goal may take a generation to achieve, the globa
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SOURCE Autism Society of America
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