Menendez Celebrates New Law Providing Lifetime Support To People With Autism

Menendez Celebrates New Law Providing Lifetime Support To People With Autism


By:  Peter Haskell
WCBS 880

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez is celebrating the signing of a law that will help people with autism into adulthood and beyond.

New Jersey has the highest autism rate in the country, with one in 34 children on the spectrum. 

For children on the spectrum there are a range of services that are guaranteed, but once they enter adulthood they are often left to find their own programs.

That all changes now following the passage of the federal Autism CARES Act.

"For the first time, I'm proud to say, the law directs federal programs to address the needs of Americans with autism across their lifetimes: from cradle to college to career and beyond," said Menendez, who sponsored the bill. "This is about helping and improving the lives of individuals and their families."

Carolyn Hayer's 31-year-old son, Christopher, has autism. When he was younger, Hayer had her son enrolled in autism programs to address his needs, but when he turned 21 she was on her own.

"I had a plan in place and that plan fell apart and within a year he was home with nothing," Hayer said.

Senator Bob Menendez ?

@SenatorMenendez

Celebrating the passage of the #AutismCARES Act today ?? Thank you to all the advocates who have joined me in the fight to pass this crucial legislation.

Senator Bob Menendez ?

@SenatorMenendez

CARES stands for:

Collaboration ??

Accountability ??

Research ??

Education ??‍??

Support ??‍??‍??

…and that’s exactly what the Autism CARES Act ensures for all Americans with ASD, from cradle to college to career and beyond.

The law provides parents peace of mind.

"This bill makes sure that people with autism and other developmental disabilities would be able to shine their own light and live their own life," Hayer said.

The bill, which was signed into law last month by President Donald Trump, also provides funding for early detection and research to develop new treatments.