U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman, along with Congressman Tim Griffin today announced that Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute will receive nearly $300,000 to improve services for children and youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in Arkansas.
"Many parents have told me early awareness and treatment has been life-changing for their children, helping their kids perform better in school and in their daily interactions. This funding provides a significant boost to the services we can provide to Arkansas children," Pryor said. "The more we learn about autism, the more we can help the growing number of Arkansas children affected. That's why I will continue to do all I can to ensure funding for autism research, early treatment and education."
"It's important that we continue to build on the research efforts for early detection and education to support Arkansas children with autism and their families. This grant is important for Children's Hospital and the work it does in helping identify the best practices and opportunities to improve the lives of kids living with autism," Boozman said.
"While the occurrence and severity of autism symptoms vary widely, many cases go unrecognized, undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, and we still have great uncertainty as to what directly causes autism and how to best treat those with autism. It is critical to increase awareness and invest in resources to diagnose and treat this disease that is robbing our children of their childhoods. This important funding is a key step to helping the children affected in Arkansas by expanding services to improve care and better address the rapid growth of autism. I recently cosponsored a House-passed bill to combat autism and will continue efforts to ensure that the research and treatment of autism is a priority," said Griffin.
Autism spectrum disorders are developmental disabilities that affect language, cognition, emotional development and the ability to relate and interact with others. Early identification and intervention can greatly improve a child's trajectory in life. In Arkansas, 1 in 65 children (8-year-olds) was identified with ASD. Boys were about 4 times more likely to be identified with ASD than girls. 1 in 40 boys was identified with ASD