PARAMUS, NJ (July 15, 2013) -- Autism Speaks today commended U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) for introducing the AGE-IN Act which would address the challenges faced by young adults with autism as they "age out" of public education and other support services. Menendez announced the bill here at the ECLC of New Jersey's Bergen P.R.I.D.E. Center.
The Menendez bill would fund research, training and planning for a pilot program in adult transition services. The bill is called the Assistance in Gaining Experience, Independence, and Navigation Act of 2013, or AGE-IN Act.
Menendez invited Kerry Magro [right], a young adult with autism, to speak of his experiences with transition issues. Magro works as a social media specialist with Autism Speaks and is a newly published author.
“For too many young people with autism spectrum disorders, the end of high school means the end of the support and skills training they need to succeed in the new world of adulthood,” said Menendez. He called for a national response to the necessary resources are available to ensure young adults with with autism can lead productive, fulfilling lives.
"Senator Menendez has been a leading champion for the autism community in Congress and the AGE-IN Act shows he is closely attuned to the pressing needs of our families," said Peter Bell, Autism Speaks' executive vice president for programs and services. "Many thousands of young adults with autism are now 'aging out' of the daily supports they receive through the public education system, and need help with employment, housing, transportation, higher education and other services. Living at home with aging parents is simply not an option in many cases."
The AGE-IN Act would fund research into the aging-out phenomenon and inventory the existing infrastructure for community-based housing, continuing education and vocational training, accessible transportation and community integration services. In addition, a strategic plan would be created for a "Transition to Independence" pilot program providing a full range of support services for adult transition.
The Transition Navigator Grant Program would create university-based training programs to create a network of "navigators" capable of helping young adults with autism transition to community-based settings.
U.S Senator Menendez Introduces AGE-IN Act Bill
Kerry Magro Speaks at Senator Mendez's Annoucement of AGE-IN Act Bill