(SACRAMENTO) – Today, Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez received an award from the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) and Autism and Care Treatment Today (ACT Today!) for his work on expanding access to autism identification and treatment.
“One of the measures of our society is how well we care for those most vulnerable among us,” said Pérez.
“This is what has motivated me to work to ensure our seniors, our children, and people with disabilities have access to the care and supports they need. When it comes to autism, it is well documented that children in low-income, rural, and/or immigrant communities are likely to be diagnosed much later than others. I have sought, therefore, to remove barriers in our service delivery system and increase access to diagnosis and treatment. CARD and ACT Today! have been steadfast partners in this effort, and I’m grateful for their recognition.”
“The Center for Autism and Related Disorders is grateful for Assemblymember Pérez’s commitment to increasing access to autism screening and treatment,” said Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh, the founder and executive director of CARD and founder of ACT Today! “Every time a child gains access to autism treatment, taxpayers are spared the high cost of doing nothing, which has been estimated at over $3 million per child. Assemblymember Pérez is making a real difference for all Californians.”
ACT Today!’s current Executive Director Nancy Alspaugh-Jackson also commented on the award: “Assemblyman Pérez has led the way in sponsoring legislation to serve Latino families, the fastest growing population in the autism epidemic. His efforts have increased autism awareness and expanded access to early intervention, care and treatment for California’s most vulnerable citizens. His foresight in ensuring access to autism treatment now will save taxpayers millions of dollars in the future. ACT Today! salutes Assemblymember Pérez for his leadership on this important issue. He is a champion for all families affected by autism and is leading the way in providing a better future for all Californians.”
Pérez is the author of AB 1232 (Chapter 679, Statutes of 2013), which promotes more effective service delivery by requiring that the Department of Developmental Disabilities add the evaluation of linguistic and cultural competency to its quality assurance assessments.
This ensures the state’s regional centers are able to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse consumer population and that services are “people-centered,” as prescribed by law.
Last November, Pérez and ACT Today! announced that the organization had committed $100,000 in grant funds to meet the needs of Coachella Valley families. Grant funds can be used to defray the cost of treatment, assessments, and other necessary expenditures, including such things as nutritional supplements, adaptive communication devices, and household items that make a home safer for a child with autism.