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2011 Legislative Priorities

Alaska Autism Resource Center 201

What: Autism is a lifelong disability that develops from birth onward in a person. It may differ in severity between one person to the next, but it can affect thinking, social interaction, communication, imagination, and relationships with others.

Why: Children are more commonly showing signs as the years go on; from 1994 to 2008 there was a 1540% increase in children in Alaska who had autism, according to statistics from the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. The Alaska Autism Resource Center provides for individuals with autism in a variety of ways, also serving as a resource for families and care providers. Much community interest and support has been shown on this issue, including many people taking an interest in checking out autism-related books from the public library and thousands of people taking advantage of health fairs to become educated on the issue. Because of the intensity in which this problem is growing, such a center is necessary and valuable to the people of Alaska. GF/MH funds in the amount of $100,000 have been recommended for this cause.