In The Politics of Autism, I discuss federal spending for people with autism and other disabilities.
On December 20, 2019, two appropriations “minibuses” were enacted that include the funding bills for all federal departments and agencies.
This spending package includes wins for autism research and services, including
- $2.6 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The bill encourages the NIH to aggressively invest in autism research consistent with the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) Strategic Plan, which called for a doubling in autism research spending. Specifically, it calls for “greater investment in research and collaborations focused on addressing the gaps outlined in the Strategic Plan.”
- $168 million increase for the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
- $15 million for the Autism Research Program at the Department of Defense. This is double the level of spending than FY 2019. Since its inception in Fiscal Year 2007, about $100 million has been directed to promote innovative research designed to advance the understanding of ASD and to improve the lives of those living with autism.
- $2 million to reduce the risk of injury or death related to the wandering characteristics of some children with autism. This funding will allow for the implementation of Kevin and Avonte’s legislation that was passed into law last year.
- $23.1 million for autism activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC’s work includes providing essential data on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developing resources to help identify children as early as possible.
- $1.75 million increase to the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) for autism activities, with $35.2 million of HRSA funds designated for LEND.
- $13.9 billion for IDEA special education. This is a $417 million increase over last year.
These funding increases and focus on autism-specific programs keep us on a path toward new autism discoveries and supports.