AUCD Applauds and Thanks President Obama for Signing Combating Autism Reauthorization Act

AUCD's George Jesien Present for Bill Signing

October 3, 2011

George Jesien (AUCD); Scott Badesch (ASA); Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ); Jasper, Billy (Autism Speaks), and Gena Mann; and Suzanne and Bob Wright (Autism Speaks) with President Obama as the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act is signed.
George Jesien (AUCD); Scott Badesch (ASA); Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ); Jasper, Billy (Autism Speaks), and Gena Mann; and Suzanne and Bob Wright (Autism Speaks) with President Obama as the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act is signed.

AUCD applauds and thanks President Obama for signing the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act last Friday, September 30, 2011. Reauthorization ensures that important research, early identification, and professional training will continue.  Without reauthorization the law was set to expire on September 30. 

For each of the next three years, the bill authorizes $22 million for surveillance through the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), $48 million for early detection, professional training and the development of effective interventions through the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), and $161 million for autism research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The new law also reauthorizes the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee.

AUCD Executive Director George Jesien was invited to witness the signing in a small White House oval office ceremony.  He was joined by House bill sponsor Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ), Autism Society President Scott Badesch, and Autism Speaks co-founders Suzanne and Bob Wright, along with Board Member Billy Mann and his wife Gena and son Jasper who has Autism.

George Jesien, PhD, Executive Director of AUCD, said, "It is was an incredible honor to be present as the President signed CARA into law and bring months of work by so many to fruition. Congress did the right thing by passing this law and showed that even in these tough times it could respond in a bipartisan manner to a national need." Dan Crimmins, PhD, President of AUCD and Director of a recently approved Leadership Education in Nuerodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) training program funded by the Combating Autism Act in Atlanta, Georgia, commented, "Our interdisciplinary faculty and young doctors, speech and motor therapists, and other trainees can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they will be able to continue their studies and practice to identify, diagnose, and serve individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities and their families. This is great news for everyone concerned."

Kim Musheno, Legislative Affairs Director for AUCD, added her thanks to Congressmen Smith and Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Scott Brown (R-MA) for their leadership in Congress that made this day possible. She also commended the family members, researchers, and network members who helped inform Congress about the importance of continuing the activities authorized by the law, as well as Autism Speaks, the Autism Society, and members of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities who collaborated to educate Members of Congress and urge action on this important bill. "Extending this law allows the research, education, and early identification efforts begun in 2006 to continue, yet we know there is more that needs to be done. AUCD looks forward to working with others to address the unmet needs of youth, adults, and those who are un-served or under-served."

About AUCD

AUCD is a national network of 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs); 43 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs; and 15 Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (IDDRCs). As the prevalence of autism has risen, University Centers have initiated many activities to help meet the growing needs of children, adults, and families. Together, these programs have a national impact through direct services, the development of new professionals, and the application of new knowledge generated from research.  For more information and a national directory of Centers, see AUCD's website at

For more information on the Combating Autism Act see, "Report to Congress on Activities Related to Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disabilities Under the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (FY 2006-FY 2009).


>>For more coverage of the signing, read The White House Blog article, "A Father Celebrates Today's Reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act."