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Public Statements

Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HARPER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011, and I want to thank my colleagues, particularly Congressman Smith, Congressman Doyle, and Chairman Pitts, for their great work on bringing this to the forefront today.

Experts estimate that one in every 110 children is diagnosed with autism. As a whole, developmental disabilities affect an increasing number of young people, and specifically students. In an effort to help provide students with exciting education and enrichment opportunities, I was honored to establish the Congressional Internship Program for Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities in 2010. Last week, 22 congressional offices, Republican and Democratic, welcomed 11 developmentally disabled students to their staffs to serve as interns for this fall.

Collecting data for autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities is vital to ensuring that every young person with a significant disability has the opportunity, the encouragement, and the support to become gainfully employed in an integrated setting, pursue a postsecondary education, and contribute to and engage in meaningful ways in typical community settings once they leave high school. This gives these individuals with autism hope.

I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

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