Autism CARES Act funds research at Waisman Center

President Donald Trump signed the Autism CARES Act, which allocates $1.8 billion to autism research and support programs.

The Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison focuses on research on intellectual and developmental disabilities and said “the 2014 Autism CARES Act had provided the most comprehensive attention to autism spectrum disorders ever passed by Congress.”​​​​​​

“Through the act, we have received almost $9 million over the last five or six years that have made a more intensive focus in the area of research and professional development that we wouldn’t have been able to do without the act,” said Elizabeth Hecht, a policy specialist.

With the funding from the Autism CARES Act, the Waisman Center researches the prevalence of autism in Wisconsin, teaches rural doctors to diagnose and treat autism and provides support and resources to individuals and families.

Current prevalence data show that one in 71 children in Wisconsin have been identified with an autism spectrum disorder, according to the Waisman Center.

The Waisman Center was able to better understand the prevalence of autism in the state because of the funding from the act, which helps plan for public policies and responses.

“Families can be healthier, children can benefit from intervention earlier and be more able to participate in the lives of our communities over their lifespan,” Hecht said.

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