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Pallone Visits Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University for Autism Awareness Month

April 1, 2016
Press Release

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ –  Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), visited the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University to recognize Autism Awareness Month and observe the crucial services the center provides and discuss the importance of state and federal research for Autism. As a member of the Congressional Autism Caucus and the senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over issues pertaining to healthcare, Pallone has been a strong advocate for Autism research and funding for programs to serve the needs of people with Autism.

The Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center assists those with autism spectrum disorders, their families and their schools. It also provides information about the treatment and education of people with autism spectrum disorders to medical professionals and the general public. Pallone met with Lara Delmolino, PhD, Director, Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center; Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and the founding Executive Director of The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities; and Michael Knox, PhD, Deputy Director and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities.

“The work being done at the DDDC is extraordinary and is helping so many families in New Jersey and beyond,” said Pallone.  “That’s why it is so important that the DDDC has the tools it needs to continue its good work.  Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle must fund both the medical research that allows us to better understand autism and the services that allow those diagnosed to live healthy and fulfilling lives. Budgets are about more than numbers and dollars – they are real-life expressions of priorities, choices and values.  These choices have an impact on the lives of millions of Americans, and that includes the families that are currently coping with autism.”

Autism spectrum disorder widely affects children in the United States, and a new study found one in 41 children is diagnosed with autism in New Jersey, a 12 percent increase in two years. New Jersey has the highest rate of Autism in the nation. 

“Families and individuals are overcoming significant challenges on a daily basis,” said Pallone.  “We must treat autism as an urgent public health concern and raise awareness of the disorder, which is why Autism Awareness Month is so important, and why Congress must prioritize policies that will help.”