Trump signs $1.8 billion autism funding bill


"There are currently 40,000 kids in the state of Arkansas with an autism diagnosis," AIM Regional Clinical Director Brandon Sikes said.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — The Autism Cares Act was signed into law on Monday (November 4) by President Donald Trump.

It provides $1.8 billion in funding for autism programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, and Health Resources and Services Administration.

The bill was sponsored by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA).

Autism in Motion (AIM), a clinic in Fayetteville, offers therapy for children ages two to 18 who have received an autism diagnosis.

AIM Regional Clinical Director Brandon Sikes said the money this bill is providing is going to offer more research on:

  • what causes autism
  • what services are out there
  • what resources parents have

Sikes said this bill is important to the 40,000 kids in the state of Arkansas with autism, especially because there is an underserved population of kids on the spectrum who need services.

What’s amazing about this money is it’s going to help funnel some information into the area and provide more resources so hopefully we can kind of combat that issue and making sure that every kid does have services.

Brandon Sikes, AIM Regional Clinical Director

Sikes said it’s a great feeling to know we’re moving in the right direction, but we need this to continue in the long run.

The CDC says about 1 in 59 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder, and it’s about four times more common among boys than girls.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges.

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