Cuts on autism program taking its toll on children with autism in Illinois

childrenSpringfield, Ill. — The statewide cutbacks that affect the fundings intended for The Autism Program in Illinois is taking its toll on the ones who are supposed to benefit from the program — the children with autism.

The current state budget impasse in Illinois saw non-profit organizations dependent on the state funding nearly paralyzed as a result.

Consequently, hundreds of children who were previously enrolled in programs under the state budget umbrella are no longer receiving the help that they badly need.

The Autism Program officials fear that the cutbacks may be causing the collapse of the network of autism diagnosis and treatment services in Illinois. According to the program’s state network director, Russell Bonanno:

“We’ve built an infrastructure over 12 years. Basically, we’ve built a bridge, and the bridge is no longer short a brick. The lack of a budget basically blew up the bridge, and it’s going to take time to rebuild it.”

The Springfield’s Hope Institute for Children and Families program has not received its supposed annual state funding of $4.3 million since July of last year, and the domino effect of which was quickly felt not just by network’s autism centers, but more importantly, the children who are supposed to be benefitting from The Autism Program’s help.

Unfortunately, the children coming from low-income families are the ones directly affected by the ongoing state budget impasse, as autism centers in Springfield would soon no longer be able to accept children who are not covered by private insurance.

Source: Dean Olsen: Lincoln Courier: Cuts at Autism Program accelerate with service denials, layoffs