New Jersey Revised Statutes § 30:6d-57 - Findings, Declarations Relative To Autism.

30:6D-57 Findings, declarations relative to autism.

2.The Legislature finds and declares that:

a.Autism and autism spectrum disorders are biologically-based developmental disorders which cause severe impairments in language and communication and generally manifest in young children sometime during the first two years of life, and the devastation caused by autism lasts a lifetime due to the emotional and financial distress that families experience from the intense support which most individuals with autism require throughout their lives;

b.With three quarters of those with autism spending their adult lives in institutions or group homes, and usually entering institutions by the age of 13, the cost of caring for individuals with autism and autism spectrum disorders is great, and is estimated to be $.5 billion per year in the State, solely for direct costs;

c.According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, one of every 94 children in this State has autism, which is the highest rate among the states examined by the CDC in the most comprehensive study of the prevalence of autism to date;

d.While autism is the third most common developmental disorder and is more prevalent than Down's syndrome, childhood cancer or cystic fibrosis, autism research receives less than 5% of the funding of these other diseases from the federal government and to date little biomedical research has been done on this disorder, despite the fact that scientists consider autism to be one of the most heritable of all the developmental disorders and the most likely to yield to the latest scientific advancements in genetics and neurology;

e.The lack of research was due to 40 years of neglect of autism by the scientific community, arising from the formerly widespread but now discredited belief that autism was an emotional disorder caused by faulty parenting, and thus, few dollars were allocated to researchers, leaving an entire generation of children to be overlooked; however, the rapid advancements in biomedical science suggest that effective treatment and a cure for autism are attainable, if sufficient dollars are allocated to research so that another generation of children in the State is not lost to this disorder;

f.While promising findings in the field of autism research have been made in recent years, the diverse symptoms and etiology of autism require a high level of activity in the widest variety of scientific fields, from genetics and neurology to neuroimaging, immunology and gastroenterology, if effective treatments and a cure are to be found quickly;

g.Other states such as New York, Connecticut and Maryland have nationally recognized centers for researching and treating autism that attract significant funding from private sources and the National Institutes of Health, but since New Jersey lacks such centers, the State is unable to attract comparable funding, despite the presence of highly regarded medical facilities in the State such as Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Hackensack University Medical Center, as well as a higher education medical institution such as the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey;

h.The State's substantial pharmaceutical industry would benefit from having medical centers dedicated to autism research and treatment by gaining access to families for clinical trials and by enabling easy collaboration between public and private scientists; and

i.Legislation has been introduced in the United States Congress which, if passed, will increase the level of federal funding for biomedical research on autism; however, in order for State researchers to be eligible for these dollars, funding must be made available for State researchers to carry out preliminary pilot studies.

L.1999, c.105, s.2; amended L.2007, c.168, s.2.

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Last modified: October 11, 2016