November 09, 2007

Funding for autism center passes U.S. House

by K.C. Jaehnig

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Southern Illinois University Carbondale could, for the first time, see an influx of federal money to the tune of $240,000 if next year's appropriation bills pass.

The money appears in the U.S. House of Representatives' version of the budgets for labor, health and human services, education, military construction and veterans' administration. The U.S. Senate must pass the legislation covering the budget and President George W. Bush must approve it before the money comes to SIUC.

"The incidence of autism has increased in recent years, and it now affects more children than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS," said U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, who advocated including the center in the appropriations bills.

"The Center for Autism at SIUC is making a tremendous difference in the lives of the families it serves, and this funding will help the staff there carry on this important work."

Anthony Cuvo, who heads the center, said new money would allow the center to hire additional staff and underwrite more interns, thus expanding its abilities to treat children, conduct research and provide training and consultation services to parents, schools and community groups.

"We have children we are unable to take because of limited resources," he said. "With more staff, we could not only take additional children but also provide them different types of services as well as extend our reach into the community.

"We're extremely grateful for Rep. Costello's help and his interest in the children and families with autism in Southern Illinois, and we deeply appreciate the service he has provided."

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