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Friday, November 4, 2011

Kerry on Autism

At the Dover-Sherborn Press, Senator John Kerry has an op-ed about a Dover resident, an ASD child named Jack:

Here in Dover, Judith Ursitti is doing something about it. As director of State Government Affairs at Autism Speaks, Ursitti is helping to raise awareness of the prevalence of this disorder and the critical need for research on causes, prevention, treatment and a cure.

But Ursitti is more than a national advocate driven by the daily triumphs she sees from the children and families she works with every day — she’s also Jack’s mom.

Since his diagnosis, Jack has made incredible strides with the doctors at the Lurie Family Autism Center at Mass General as well as under the loving care of the teachers and staff at Nashoba Learning Group, the groundbreaking school in Bedford committed to helping the children and families of autism fight back.

As a tribute to the great work that the school has done, when Ursittibraved Heartbreak Hill in this year’s Boston Marathon to raise money and awareness to combat the disorder, she did it with the names of Jack’s classmates from Nashoba emblazoned with Sharpie on her arms.

Parents and children like Judith and Jack are the driving force behind my recent push in the Senate to pass the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act. It extends the Combating Autism Act for an additional three years, continuing to direct millions of dollars to autism research, diagnosis and treatment.

And most importantly for Massachusetts and kids such as Jack, it funds the Lurie Center, providing a world-class autism treatment network for Massachusetts families.