Autism & Other Developmental Disorders

Why the Program is Needed

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 68 American children are now on the autism spectrum - a tenfold increase in prevalence in 40 years.  The lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism ranges from $3.5 to $5 million, and the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism.  This figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation and employment, in addition to related therapeutic services and caregiver costs.

What it Does

Supports the following efforts across federal agencies:

  1. Developmental disabilities surveillance and research.  The CDC administers several programs, including multi-state studies of Autism risk factors.
  2. Autism education, early detection, and intervention. The Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA) provides:
    1. training for professionals;
    2. state demonstrations and policy; and
    3. research programs to improve the health of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
  3. Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee & related programs. The National Institutes of Health (NIH):
    1. operates an Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee,
    2. conducts reviews of the Autism centers for excellence, and
    3. expands coordinated Autism research.

Authorizing Legislation

The Combating Autism Act of 2006 as amended (42 U.S.C. Part R)

Recent Funding

Please see the table on the Funding for Federal Disability-related Programs page.

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