Congress spends a lot of time discussing and debating issues that are determined by our own philosophical belief on what the role of government should be. Today we are drawing attention to something that has no political affiliation, no partisan allegiance, something much more fundamental and something much more personal.
Right now, 1 in 88 children are identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. At the start of this century, that ratio was 1 in 150. The truth is we don't know enough about ASD. We do know, however, that it is being diagnosed far more frequently than it was just a few years ago.
In recognition of this increase and of the reality that we don't know enough about ASD, the Congress passed the Combating Autism Act in 2006 to establish the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee so we could facilitate an exchange of information and coordination in the hopes of raising awareness and understanding of ASD research and services. In Fiscal Year 2012, Congress directed $230 million for ASD-specific research and services.
Today, we will get a clearer picture on what is being done, what questions still need to be answered and what needs exist for those children, adults and families who live with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.