Congress has approved a bill that would authorize $945 million over five years to support research, diagnosis, and treatment in the field of autism. The Combating Autism Act was passed Dec. 6 by voice vote in the House. The Senate had passed the bill by voice vote in August. The bill now moves to President Bush’s desk for his signature.
The bill focuses on autism through research, screening, early detection, and early intervention. Supporters say the legislation would increase federal spending on the disorder by at least 50 percent.
Autism and other autism-spectrum disorders are characterized by impairments in social interactions and communications. Research suggests that between one in 500 and one in 166 children have autism or an autism-spectrum disorder.
A version of this article appeared in the December 20, 2006 edition of Education Week