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Last updated 5:26AM ET
February 26, 2021
Austism Task Force says Growing Numbers Necessitate Changes
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - A state task force that studied autism found the number of Alabama children diagnosed with the disorder is increasing dramatically and the state government needs to a better organized approach to handle it.

GOP State Representative Cam Ward of Alabaster, the father of an autistic child, and Lt. Governor Jim Folsom, the uncle of an autistic child, worked together last year to create the 25-member task force.

The task force held public hearings around the state and has prepared preliminary recommendations for the legislative session next month.

The task force's report says the number of children in Alabama's public schools diagnosed with autism has grown from 68 in 1990 to 849 in 2000 and to 2,297 in 2006. Nationwide, about one out of every 150 children has autism.

Folsom said the budget forecast prompted the task force to look for ideas requiring little money.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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