NJ Looks to Expand Services for Those With Autism

New Jersey Assembly members are poised to vote on legislation that would provide more assistance for people with autism.

The Garden State has the nation’s highest autism rate, and officials have moved in recent years to raise awareness about the disorder and encourage early diagnosis and early intervention. New Jersey recently became the 15th state to require expanded health insurance coverage for autism, and also has established a centralized statewide autism registry and trains teachers in autism awareness.

The two measures scheduled for a vote Monday mostly target adults with autism.

One bill would permit them to voluntarily place their names on a new state registry that officials say would help improve planning and other services for those with autism spectrum disorders. Adults could register themselves or be listed by a health care or service provider.

The other would revise the state’s discrimination laws to specifically prohibit discriminatory acts against people with autism.

Both measures are sponsored by Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, D-Camden, and were recommended by the Adults with Autism Task Force that was created under a law he sponsored. Both were approved late last month by the Assembly’s Health and Senior Services Committee.

Via NJ Looks to Expand Services for Those With Autism

Autism Odds: The Diagnosis is as Puzzling as the Behavior

“When you take a drug to treat high blood pressure or diabetes, you have an objective test to measure blood pressure and the amount of sugar in the blood. It is straightforward,” writes Temple Grandin. “With autism, you are looking for changes in behavior.”

Though she’s a PhD and a professor at Colorado State, Grandin is not a professional autism expert—in fact, her field is animal behavior. Rather, she’s described by the Autism Society as “inarguably the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world,” and she’s the author of books on both animal behavior— Animals Make Us Human, Animals in Translation—and autism: Thinking in Pictures: and Other Reports from My Life With Autism.

As Grandin has recognized, diagnosing and even defining autism is challenging. Though parents whose children are severely autistic never argue about the syndrome, others say that the spectrum of the disorder is so wide that proper diagnosis is a puzzle with too many pieces. No wonder the prevalence, causes, and treatments of autism are so hotly debated.

Via Autism Odds: The Diagnosis is as Puzzling as the Behavior