Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her autism plan in Sioux City. She called for for $700 million in funding for autism research and education and criticized President Bush for failing to fully fund legislation such as the Combating Autism Act (CAA); Clinton noted that she co-sponsored the CAA and also, earlier this year, the Expanding the Promise for Individuals with Autism Act. Referring to autism as a “national health crisis” (as quoted in the Associated Press), Clinton said that “‘we don’t know how to cure it, and we don’t even know the best ways to treat it.’”Autism initiatives that Clinton proposed taking include:
“Autism is a quiet crisis, affecting an astonishing 1 in 150 children and four times as many boys as girls. Nobody knows why diagnoses have risen tenfold just over the past decade. We need to find the causes so we can help protect our children. The National Institutes of Health have concluded that childhood vaccines are not the cause, but many families are not convinced.As president, I will double funding for autism research, issue an all-hands-on deck challenge and follow the results wherever the science takes us.We also need to take better care of children affected today. My plan for universal health care, guaranteed coverage of autism care in Medicaid and private insurance, and better investments in special education and home health workers will assist families to support and treat children with autism and help children, and adults, reach their full potential.We should also invest more in recruiting, training and paying sufficiently teachers, therapists, psychologists and others working in the special education field. It’s time to finally get on a path to fully funding special education.This is an area I’ve been involved with for a long time. I started fighting to help families with autism when I first arrived in the Senate. One of the very first bills I introduced and help make law was the Fragile X Breakthrough Research Act, which provided new resources for a genetic condition that results in autism for thousands of children. We passed the bill into law, providing new resources for research devoted to Fragile X.”John Edwards
Support Americans with Autism. More than one million Americans have autism, a complex neurobiological condition that has a range of impacts on thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others. As diagnostic criteria broaden and awareness increases, more cases of autism have been recognized across the country. Barack Obama believes that we can do more to help autistic Americans and their families understand and live with autism. He has been a strong supporter of more than $1 billion in federal funding for autism research on the root causes and treatments, and he believes that we should increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to truly ensure that no child is left behind. More than anything, autism remains a profound mystery with a broad spectrum of effects on autistic individuals, their families, loved ones, the community, and education and health care systems. Obama believes that the government and our communities should work together to provide a helping hand to autistic individuals and their families.