NJ Youngsters With Developmental Delays Could See $4 Million In Treatment Aid Restored

autismNew Jersey youngsters with developmental delays could see $4 million in treatment aid restored, under a bill introduced Monday by two Bergen County lawmakers. Funding for the Early Childhood Intervention Program, lost in the fiscal 2011 budget signed by Gov. Chris Christie, would be diverted from an autism research account that is replenished with $1 surcharges on motorists.

“From what we ascertained, they have enough to get them to the grants that were in the pipeline this year,” Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, said about the New Jersey Autism Medical Research and Treatment Fund.

Weinberg is sponsoring the bill with Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, D-Englewood. The new funding would offset some families’ co-pays for services considered crucial at a young age, particularly in New Jersey, which has the country’s highest rate of autism.

The intervention program applies to children from birth through age 3 with developmental delays, including autism, and other disabilities, such as vision and hearing loss and emotional or behavioral disorders. Its services include assessment, medical care, nutrition assessment and therapies.

“When we were in the budget aspect of things, we heard from people,” Weinberg said. “This is a trauma to a family when they find out, and then they have to deal with how best to quickly get their children back on the best track possible.” Read more in Star Ledger.

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