Menendez Presents Autism Reform Plan [AUDIO]
New Jersey is considered a national leader when it comes to autism programs for children, but what happens when those kids get older?
It turns out many programs end once the participants turn 21, so one federal lawmaker has a plan to change things.
New Jersey U.S. Senator Bob Menendez is sponsoring the Assistance in Gaining Experience, Independence and Navigation Act.
"The first phase of the AGE IN Act provides resources to apply a comprehensive training program that can be used across the country," says Menendez, "and the second phase of the legislation puts that plan into action by providing federal resources to train a new generation of professionals to work with young people transitioning into adults."
He says these transition navigators will be trained to provide comprehensive services to address all the possible needs of transitioning youth.
"And that would include for example, providing access to continuing education, to vocational training, to competitive employment, and it also includes helping in obtaining healthcare, housing, transportation, and community integration."
Senator Menendez says New Jersey has one of the highest rates of autism in the nation, with one in 49 children being diagnosed by their eighth birthday.
"And for boys, the number is staggering - one in 29 children. So what I want is for every young adult on the autism spectrum to fulfill their God-given potential."