Assemblyman Santabarbara: New Autism Detection Bill to Increase Access to Resources for Those with Disabilities

Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara announced that a bill he co-sponsored and helped pass this year to create an autism detection, education and mapping program within the Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Board has been signed (Ch. 804 of 2021).

“As the father of a child with autism, I know firsthand the unique challenges individuals with disabilities and their families face,” said Santabarbara. “With this bill now signed we can move forward with this important program that will map and track the number of autism cases in New York State to help ensure that people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families can access the resources they need. This information will also assist our health care providers and educators as they work to support those diagnosed with disabilities.”

This law comes after a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that one in 44 8-year-old children are now diagnosed with autism.[1] The law expands on the Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Board’s mission by creating an autism detection, education and mapping program to promote early detection of autism. Additional measures will help educate the public, provide counseling and referral services and map locations of occurrences of autism.

Santabarbara has spearheaded numerous laws to help those with disabilities, including creating the Autism Spectrum Disorders Advisory Board in 2016. The board is composed of individuals with autism, professionals in the field and relevant state agencies who work together to provide people with autism and their families with support and resources (Ch. 469 of 2016). To further support New Yorkers with disabilities, Santabarbara supported a comprehensive legislative package that includes measures to diversify the Developmental Disabilities Advisory Council (Ch. 683 of 2021); require this council to evaluate and produce a report on the state’s response to COVID-19 (Ch. 711 of 2021); ensure those with disabilities have access to a support person during periods of hospitalization (Ch. 689 of 2021); and improve employment opportunities for people and veterans with disabilities (Ch. 710 of 2021).