Researchers and scientists affiliated with New Jersey colleges, research organizations and public or private nonprofit agencies can now apply for $8 million in grants through the Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism, state Health Commissioner Mary E. O‘Dowd announced Monday.
The grants, awarded over five years, must be used to expand the research, treatment and prevention of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) while supporting the development of an Autism Center of Excellence (ACE) Coordinating Center and several other sites. Applications for the grants are due March 19 and the awards will be announced in June.
“An estimated 1 in 94 New Jersey children have autism spectrum disorders,” O’Dowd said. “Making $8 million available to scientists and researchers will keep the state in the forefront of research into the diagnosis and treatment of ASDs. One day that research may lead to a cure.”
The grants are funded through a $1 surcharge on fines and penalties from traffic violations that are dedicated to support autism research and treatment.
The Autism Center of Excellence consists of up to three program sites and a coordinating center. The program sites will conduct clinical research on autism, while the coordinating center will provide common management and support for the program sites. Each program site will receive up to $450,000 per year for five years. The coordinating center will receive up to $300,000 per year for five years.
“This funding makes a true commitment to find new and innovative ways to help families impacted by ASD,” said Dr. Caroline Eggerding, chairwoman of the Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism.
In addition to the funds available for the creation of the Autism Center of Excellence, the Department’s Early Intervention System (EIS) supports families with children from birth to age 3 who are in need of developmental intervention including speech, occupational and physical therapy or other developmental services necessary to achieve their full potential. The EIS budget includes more than $140 million in both state and federal funding in the 2011-12 state budget.
Autism is an advocacy area embraced by First Lady Mary Pat Christie to bring greater understanding and awareness of the developmental disability.
Throughout the year, Christie has highlighted the work being done by individuals and organizations throughout the state to help people with autism spectrum disorder.
Autism spectrum disorders are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges.
People with ASDs handle information in their brain differently than other people.
ASDs such as autism and Asperger’s Syndrome affect each person in different ways, and can range from very mild to severe. People with ASDs share some similar symptoms, such as problems with social interaction. But there are differences in when the symptoms start, how severe they are, and the exact nature of the symptoms.
For complete information on the grants including eligibility, how to apply and program objectives, please visit:
For complete information on the Early Intervention System please visit:
For complete information on Autism and Autism disorders please visit the CDC Autism webpage at:
The Governor’s Council for Medical Research and Treatment of Autism website is:
—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM