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Combating Autism Act (CAA) - Funding Allocations

  • Date: 2009/12/03 (Rev. 2019/01/12)
  • Thomas C. Weiss - Disabled World
  • Synopsis : Presidents Fiscal 2010 budget includes some allocations for Autism.

Main Document

There are some specific line items in President Obama's budget, to include the Health and Human Services Budget in Brief and Appendix to the President's Fiscal 2010 budget that include some allocations for Autism.

The Combating Autism Act was passed by the United States House of Representatives on December 6th, 2006, and by the United States Senate on December 7th, 2006. The Act was signed into law on December 19th of 2006 by then President George W. Bush. The law is considered by some to be the most comprehensive single-disease piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress. The Health and Human Services Budget in Brief's NIH section states, in a paragraph regarding autism:

"As part of a $211 million HHS-wide initiative that would invest an additional $1 billion over the next eight years in autism-related activities, the NIH budget includes $141 million in FY 2010 for research into the causes of an treatments for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). For NIH, this represents an increase of $19 million, or 16 percent above the estimated base FY 2009 level. NIH expects to use these funds to help implement the objectives of the Strategic Plan for ASD research, as developed by the Inter-agency Autism Coordinating Committee. These objectives include identifying biomarkers; improving ASD screening; establishing ASD registries; understanding genetic and environmental risk factors, as well as interactions between the immune and central nervous systems; and enhancing services that can help people with ASD across the lifespan."

There are some specific line items in President Obama's budget, to include the Health and Human Services Budget in Brief and Appendix to the President's Fiscal 2010 budget that include some allocations for Autism. Forty-eight million dollars is allocated to the Health Resources and Services Administration/Autism and Other Developmental Disorders (HRSA), and one-hundred and forty-one million dollars is allocated to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). An estimated twenty-two million dollars has been allocated to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Fiscal year 2010.

The Combating Autism Act authorizes nine-hundred and twenty million dollars in federal funding in order to fight autism through a number of different means over the next five years. These means include:

  • Research
  • Awareness
  • Biomedical
  • Surveillance
  • Environmental
  • Early Identification

The amount allocated represents an increase of fifty-percent in the amount that the Department of Health and Human Services will spend on Autism.

The year 2009 found the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) spending forty-two million dollars in relation to Autism. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) spent twenty point four million dollars, while the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent one-hundred and twenty-two million dollars. All told, the spending in relation to Autism for fiscal year 2009 totaled one-hundred and eighty-four million dollars under the Combating Autism Act.

In 2008, the HRSA spent $36.354 million dollars, one-million dollars of which was spent for the IACC, on:

  • Leadership Education in Neuro-developmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Programs: LEND trains future leaders in a variety of disciplines that are designed to improve the health of children who either have, or who are at risk of, developing neuro-developmental disabilities, or other similar conditions, such as autism.
  • Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health (AIR-P Network): The AIR-P Network provides grants for research projects on interventions that have a direct impact on improving the physical health and well-being of children and adolescents with autism.
  • Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B Network): The AIR-B Network provides grants for research projects on behavioral interventions for people with autism.
  • The Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC): The most significant impact of the Combating Autism Act has been the reinstitution of the IACC, which coordinates all of the efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services that are concerned with Autism spectrum disorders. Due to the increased authority and community representation stipulated in the Combating Autism Act, the first year of the IACC's work resulted in an accounting of the NIH autism research spending.
  • Strategic Plan for Autism Research: The IACC is in the final stages of a process to develop the Strategic Plan for Autism Research as mandated by the CAA. The plan is comprised of six research areas and thirty-five research objectives. Should the IACC approve the recommended changes to the draft plan, the plan will exceed the amounts authorized by CAA and recommends more than $1 billion in research objectives over the life of the plan.

In fiscal year 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spent $16.212 million dollars in relation to Autism. Programs and campaigns pursued in the year 2008 included, 'Learn the Signs,' as well as, 'Act Early - Autism Awareness Program.' Others include:

  • Autism Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Program (ADDM): ADDM is a surveillance program tracking the prevalence of autism in ten states and six Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology (CADDRE) sites that conduct public health research on autism.
  • Research: Studies were performed in order to investigate the association between the MMR vaccine, gastrointestinal tract disorders, and autism.



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