Lawmakers introduce federal bill to help people with autism

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MIDLAND PARK -

Federal lawmakers introduced legislation aimed at helping people who have autism.

Sen. Bob Menendez introduced the Autism Cares 2019 Act Friday. The bill would help shape policy, invest in research, early detection of the disorder and the development of new treatments and therapies.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that New Jersey has the highest rate of autism in the United States. According to the report, 1 in 34 children in the state has the disorder. This is a 19 percent increase from the previous study in 2016. In 2005, the national rate for autism was only 1 in 166 children.

“When passed, this legislation will mark a leap forward in federal autism policy by recognizing this disorder as a lifelong challenge in need of a lifetime's worth of support,” Menendez said.

The bill would also reauthorize existing federal programs through 2024 and call for an additional $368 million of funding over the next five years.

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