New York Senator Chuck Schumer is introducing new legislation which will sponsor and fund research for treatments for transitioning adults with autism.
“Autism doesn’t age out at 22,” he said Tuesday at a press conference at the Center for Discovery in the Town of Thompson. “Neither should the support services that help our young adults.”
The Assistance in Gaining Experience, Independence and Navigation Act (AGE-IN) focuses on children who can no longer received school-based services- a number that is estimated to be around 50,000 nationwide this year. When children turn 22, their support services can decrease up to two-thirds, according to Schumer.
Besides researching potential treatments for these young adults, Schumer wants the act to help provide educational and employment opportunities. More than half of individuals on the autism spectrum do not have jobs or do not further their education within two years of graduating for high school. Schumer hopes to partner with organizations like the Center for Discovery, a specialty center for individuals with varying disabilities, to lower this statistics.
The Center for Discovery has employees labeled “Transition Navigators,” which help link young adults with employment options. At a press conference at the center, Schumer said he hoped to implement a similar concept in the new act.
“We cannot abandon our young people with ASD as they are about to continue with their education or enter the workforce,” Schumer says. “Instead what we need to do is call in the experts at places like the Center of Discovery to help bridge that gap.”
Schumer expects the Senate to vote on this bill early 2014, with funding potentially beginning in October.
For information of ICare4Autism’s Global Workforce Initiative, read here: http://www.icare4autism.org/global-autism-center/comprehensive-autism-workforce-development-initiative/