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Weinberg Bill Would Establish Asperger’s Syndrome Pilot Initiative

TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Loretta Weinberg which would establish the Asperger’s Syndrome Initiative within the Department of Human Services was unanimously approved today by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

Asperger’s Syndrome is a developmental disorder characterized by autistic-like behaviors – such as deficiencies in social and communication skills. Those living with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to be self-absorbed and often display obsessive or repetitive routines. The disease is not usually diagnosed until adulthood.

“Studies have shown that Asperger’s Syndrome is roughly six times more common than classic autism, which means that New Jersey’s rates are sky high considering that we have the highest autism rates in the nation,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “This pilot initiative would work to help provide educational and vocational training for those living with Asperger’s to help allow them to become productive members of society.”

Senator Weinberg’s bill, S-690, would call upon the Department of Human Services to develop Statewide educational, vocational and social services to help benefit residents living with Asperger’s Syndrome.

The Commissioner would also be required to provide to the Governor and the Legislature, within two years, a detailed summary of activities and any recommendations for expansion of the program.

“This program is necessary because unlike many physical disabilities, individuals with Asperger’s syndrome often display superior intelligence and their impairments are not always evident, which can leave them ineligible for aid services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities,” Senator Weinberg said.

This legislation now heads to the full Senate for approval.

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