Parents Speak Out Against Proposed Cuts to the Autism Program of Illinois

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 Springfield - More and more children are being screened for autism.  Often times, that results in early detection which can jump start therapy for children.

"Whenever he was three he was still considered non-verbal.  He's four now.  He speaks in complete sentences.  He can follow directions.  He's learning his shapes.  It's been amazing," said Sarah Miller, who is the mother of an autistic son named Sullivan.

Kristen Abbott is also the mother of an autistic child and said,"she's learning things like how to use a cup, which sounds simple to a lot of people, but for her it was a challenge."

These parents are concerned about the impact cuts to tap could have on their children later in life.

"I worry that she will just kind of be set aside and she deserves more than that, she deserves everything," Abbott added.

"He won't even be able to communicate with other adults.  You can spend a little bit of money now and help them when they're young, or you can spend a lot more to support them as adults," added Shannon Laney who is also the parent of an autistic child.

Miller also said,"children digressing with autism is pretty prominent whenever they get taken out of the therapies that they so crucially need."

"I certainly understand the dynamics of families that have a child with autism.  And I understand from the legislative standpoint, the priorities and importance of balancing a budget," said Bloomington state representative Dan Brady.

Brady said that these cuts hit close to home, as he is also the parent of an autistic child.

Brady believes that he hopes the legislature can work out a plan to spare the state's The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP) program.

"Can we come together to see that we have some form, whether it's stabilizing the funding, holding it steady, or it's some form of reduction of spending," asked Brady.

The budget talks continue next week when lawmakers resume the spring legislative session.

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