U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today released the following statement on World Autism Awareness Day as Autism Awareness Month begins:
"As we begin Autism Awareness month, and observe World Autism Awareness Day, it is critical that we rededicate ourselves to the fight against autism and the search for a cure. With autism rates climbing nationwide and with one in 49 of New Jersey children diagnosed, we need to sound the alarm on the need for urgent and sustained action. I will continue fighting to ensure that our children and families have the best resources available and that we continue to invest in research that can shine a light on autism's causes. Autism affects every community, impacting the futures of too many of our loved ones, and we must all come together to defeat this disorder."
Senator Lautenberg has been a leader for autism and disability issues. Each year, Lautenberg leads a Senate effort to support autism research funding through the Department of Defense. Lautenberg cosponsored the "Combating Autism Reauthorization Act," which President Obama signed into law in September 2011 and is a cosponsor of the IDEA Full Funding Act, which would significantly increase federal funding for educating children with autism and other disabilities.
In March 2013, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report that found that one in 49 New Jersey children between the ages of six and 17 have autism, with one in 50 of the nation's children diagnosed with the disorder.