TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senators Loretta Weinberg and Ellen Karcher which would establish the Asperger’s Syndrome Pilot Initiative received unanimous final legislative approval today by the full Senate.
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, Senator Weinberg said.
“There is no cure for Asperger’s Syndrome, only individual treatments for specific symptoms,” said Senator Weinberg, D-Bergen. “This legislation would bring awareness to the disease, and work to provide services to help them operate as independently as possible in today’s society.”
“Diseases like Asperger’s and Autism often rob those living with the disorders of their independence,” said Senator Karcher, D-Mercer and Monmouth. “This legislation is about providing them with the support to work and live as self-sufficiently as possible.”
The Senators’ 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 legislation was unanimously approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on February 5 and by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee on May 14. It now heads to the Governor’s desk where his signature would make it State law.