ACT Today! (Autism Care and Treatment Today!), a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide care and treatment to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), has announced it will commit up to $100,000 in funding to underserved families in the Coachella Valley who are impacted by autism as part of the ACT Today! Español program. This initiative to serve the Coachella Valley will help families, particularly in Spanish-speaking communities, by providing financial assistance through a grant program to obtain care and treatment for autism, access to a Spanish-speaking program coordinator to assist families, and access to information and resources in Spanish on topics related to autism. ACT Today! hopes its initiative will increase awareness of autism spectrum disorder in underserved communities, as well as the resources available to treat it.
“I applaud ACT Today! for initiating this grant program, which will provide much needed funds for local families with autism,” said State Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez, who represents Coachella Valley communities. Pérez is the author of the recently signed AB 1232, which helps to ensure that developmental services provided through the state’s regional centers are provided in a linguistically and culturally competent manner. “Many of our local families struggle simply to make ends meet, and these grant dollars will make a significant difference in a family’s ability to access treatments and assessments or to cover other needed expenditures.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 88 children in America is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), making ASD more prevalent than juvenile diabetes, pediatric cancer, and childhood AIDS combined. A recent study from the CDC also found that the greatest growth in prevalence of autism has occurred within the Latino community.
“We realize there are few resources available that serve Spanish-speaking families impacted by autism,” says Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson, ACT Today!’s executive director. “Children in underserved communities are likely to be diagnosed with autism much later than their peers in affluent communities, and early diagnosis and treatment are critical. The ACT Today! Español program is committed to increasing autism awareness in Spanish-speaking communities and providing resources for care and treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder.”
With funding from the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), ACT Today! Español has produced a three-part webinar in Spanish featuring ACT Today! board member and anchor for KMEX-Univision in Los Angeles, Gabriela Teissier, and Dr. Evelin Garcia, a clinical psychologist with an extensive background in autism treatment and expertise in developmental assessments.
For more information about ACT Today! Español, visit http://www.act-today.org/espanol.