Just in time for the August recess, the Senate unanimously passed the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act (Autism CARES), the nation’s primary legislation for autism research.
President Obama signed the bill into law August 8.
The bill reauthorized the Combatting Autism Act of 2006, whose name was changed at the urging of disability rights activists.
Other changes to the law include requirements that the Department of Health and Human Services appoint an official to oversee the law’s implementation, increased representation of people with autism on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), and a provision requiring the creation of a report on the needs of transitioning youth, according to a news release from The ARC.
The renewed laws authorized more than $1 billion in research spending through 2019.
“Thanks to this law, health professionals are increasingly better able to serve people with (autism spectrum disorder) and other developmental disabilities. Greater public awareness and professional education on screening, diagnosis, and appropriate interventions promise to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans with disabilities,” said Peter V. Berns, CEO of The Arc, in a news release.