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Puppolo co-sponsors autism budget amendment

BOSTON State Rep. Angelo J. Puppolo Jr., D-Springfield, is pleased to announce that an important budget amendment that he was a lead co-sponsor of along with Rep. Barbara A. L'Italien of Andover regarding autism secured an additional $2.4 million in the Division on Autism line item totaling $5,321,753. Highlights of this item include: $4 million for the autism Medicaid waiver in order to support children with autism at risk of institutionalization in their home and communities ($2 million of this will be reimbursed by Medicaid); $921,753 in funding for the Division on Autism to enable the division to provide much-needed services to autistic children; $200,000 for Melmark New England to provide training and support to families, educational collaboratives and public school districts on methods for coping with behavioral challenges associated with children who have autism; $100,000 for New England Center for Children Inc. to provide training and support to public school districts and families for the establishment of in district partner classrooms to serve children with autism; $100,000 for Asperger's Association of New England to provide support services to individuals with high functioning autism or Asperger's Syndrome. Autism is a developmental disability that affects verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction and educational performance with some of the following characteristics: engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements; resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines; and unusual responses to sensory experiences. Reports from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder ranges from 1 per 122 to 1 per 150 births.

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