Cure Autism Now Secures Inclusion of $2.2 Million Appropriation for National Autism Awareness and Physician Education Program

Friday December 12, 9:01 am ET

Bill Will Provide $2.24 Million for Centers for Disease Control to Develop And Execute Autism Awareness and Physician Education Programs

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ — Cure Autism Now Foundation today announced that their request for funds for a physician education and public awareness program, aimed at the early identification of children with autism, has been approved for inclusion in the Federal Fiscal 2004 Omnibus Appropriations Act pending before Congress.

The bill, set to become law in January 2004, would provide $2.24 million to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to develop and execute a program — in cooperation with autism advocacy organizations like Cure Autism Now — to expand autism awareness and education.

Since its inception, the Cure Autism Now Foundation has worked very closely with politicians in Washington, D.C. to help raise awareness and increase federal funding for autism. In conjunction with the CDC, Cure Autism Now will seek out national partners such as sport franchises and retailers to help spread autism awareness and education.

In the national campaign that will roll out like the very successful Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) “Back to Sleep” campaign, parents will be taught to look for early signs of trouble and physicians around the country will be taught how to make a fast reliable diagnosis or, at minimum, a referral to a specialist.

Although the Children’s Health Act passed in 2000, which called for expanded research and services for a variety of childhood health problems, including autism, the key awareness and education component of the bill was never appropriated. Cure Autism Now families worked for several years with Senators Specter and Harkin to make sure that this was remedied as part of the government’s efforts to deal with growing crisis of autism.

Senator Specter has gotten to know many families affected by autism both in Pennsylvania and around the nation. Parents of autistic children told him that they felt they lost valuable time with their children because of delayed diagnosis. The Senator heard their concerns and took it upon himself to make sure that in the future families would not have to face delayed diagnosis.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Senator Specter, who, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee which funds the CDC, added these funds for this vital purpose in a very tight budget year,” said Jonathan Shestack, Cure Autism Now founder. “Cure Autism Now intends to work with the CDC in the development and execution of this program in order to ensure that children affected by autism are diagnosed as early as possible. While we search for the ultimate cure for autism, the most effective means available to help autistic children and their families require early identification and early intervention. The funds Senator Specter has provided are aimed directly at this most vital link in the chain.”

Autism now affects at least one in every 250 children. Preliminary diagnosis now takes as little as ten minutes and autism can reliably be detected as early as 18 months, but parents do not know to ask for a screening and most primary care providers have not been educated on how to make the diagnosis.

Currently the average age for diagnosing autism is between three and four years. The National Institute of Health’s road map for autism desires to drop this age to as early as 18 months. This national autism awareness and physician education program will be key to reaching that goal. Most autistic children are missing out on the two most critical years of intervention.

About The Cure Autism Now Foundation

The Cure Autism Now Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and funding autism research and accelerating the pace of scientific progress toward effective treatments and a cure. The organization is one of the largest private funders of biological research in autism, providing more than $12 million for research grants, outreach and scientific resources since its inception in 1995. For more information about Cure Autism Now, please visit their website at .

For further information, please contact: Lisa Waters, +1-323-202-1051, , or Michel Schneider, +1-323-202-1054, , both of Edelman for Cure Autism Now Foundation.

Peter Zwack,Ph.D.
Professor Professeur titulaire
Directeur of Graduate Studies Directeur des cycles supérieurs
in the Atmospheric Sciences en Sciences de l’atmosphère
Department of Earth Département des Sciences de la Terre
and Atmospheric Sciences et de l’atmosphère
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