Governor Cuomo signed into law today legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Nozzolio of the Finger Lakes that will require New York State to provide additional focus and potential funding to help diagnose, treat, and provide essential services for families dealing with autism.
The measure, authored and lead through the Senate by Senator Nozzolio, seeks to improve services available to those on the autism spectrum, has now been enacted into law. Through a bi-partisan effort this measure will establish a nineteen member Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Board. The board will consist of members from numerous state agencies, experts in the field of autism, community advocates, and 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.
The legislation will study and review the effectiveness of supports and services currently being provided to people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and identify new ways to improve the existing service systems to help maximize the impact and effectiveness of services and agency functions.
Mary Boatfield, President and CEO of Happiness House praised the legislation and said, “I applaud Senator Nozzolio’s continued efforts to establish this critically important advisory board.” The Senator has been a steadfast supporter for individuals and families living with autism and has hosted numerous events to raise awareness of the issue and to provide information about services available for families dealing with autism. “In addition, he also worked to establish the Happiness House Autism Diagnostic and Evaluation Clinic, which provides families with comprehensive diagnosis and treatment options in the Finger Lakes Region” said Mary Boatfield, President and CEO of Happiness House. The Senator has hosted public discussions on the issue throughout the region, and 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 above is a republished press release from Sen. Michael Nozzolio’s office and was not written by FingerLakes1.com. Click here to submit press releases, community announcements, or news tips to the FingerLakes1.com team. Newsroom inquiries can be sent by clicking here.