To the Editor:

I was long  involved with a number of social issues while being a Government Administrator, including being an Advocate for people of the 24th Legislative District  for the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and often presented testimony on drug issues to community and legislative bodies. I also worked with  a county college and  a tech school in my county  of Sussex on employment issues, followed by  a 7 Year stint on a 7 county poverty program with NORWESCAP, dealing with poverty eradication, heat, electricity, and jobs!

But I am not writing on those issues, though they continue to have relevance! I have a family member with Autism, and this disease at its worst greatly impacts families, and that I have witnessed!

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention now reports  that one out of every 26 boys and one of every 108 girls in this  state are being identified with an autism spectrum disorder ( Source: The Record).

The high rates signify that here and elsewhere, we  have to look at causality of the entire spectrum that makes this disease so devastating!

Along those lines of research and policy implementation,
The 2 percent cap  on school funding needs to be adjusted to expand services for these children!

Children cannot just be brought back into a district without appropriate targeted programs for these children!

April is the month for Autism Awareness, and as the month ends; policy and Autism grow in need!

Ask your legislators  on how to be innovative for these children and special education!

For further information look for Autism Speaks, and/or the New Jersey Speech-Language - Hearing Association (NJSHA).

Bill Weightman, Hardyston