New York State Senator Mike Nozzolio has announced a measure that he authored, to drastically improve services available to those on the autism spectrum, has been enacted in the State Senate and Assembly. Through a bi-partisan effort in both houses this measure will establish a nineteen member Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Board. The board will be tasked with determining a strategy to better disseminate information and resources to families and individuals who are living with an autism spectrum disorder.
Autism has become more common than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined. One in 68 children (1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls) are identified as having an autism spectrum disorder.
“Autism continues to be the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States. There are literally hundreds of families in the Finger Lakes region affected by autism,” said Senator Nozzolio. “This new Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Board will present a vital opportunity to improve the support services that are already provided to aid those who are living with these disorders.”
The new Advisory Board would be required to submit a report annually to the Governor, the Temporary President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Assembly that will include recommendations aimed at improving current resources to aid those with autism spectrum disorders and their families.
Senator Nozzolio has fought aggressively for the necessary state funding to help diagnose, treat, and provide essential services for families dealing with autism. In addition, the Senator has hosted public discussions on the issue throughout the region. Senator Nozzolio also secured the funding needed to establish the Happiness House Autism Evaluation Center, which provides families with comprehensive diagnosis and treatment options in the Finger Lakes region.
Additionally, Senator Nozzolio co-sponsored and successfully fought to enact legislation requiring accident and health insurance companies to provide coverage for screening, diagnosis and treatment for patients on the autism spectrum.
“Families coping with a diagnosis of autism deserve all the help, support and compassion that we can provide. I admire the determination of the parents to provide every possible opportunity for their children. I remain committed to helping in whatever way I can to support these individuals and their families,” concluded Senator Nozzolio.
The measure awaits signature by the Governor.