WASHINGTON — Now that U.S. President Donald Trump has signed the Autism CARES Act of 2019 into law, $1.8 billion in funding can go to programs at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the National Institutes of Health.

The CDC says nearly 1 in 59 children of all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups have been identified with autism spectrum disorder, or (ASD). It has looked at the continents of Europe, North America and Asia and says people with ASD have been identified with an "average prevalence" between 1-2 percent. 

The bill, sponsored by House Representatives Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey, and Democratic House Representative Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania is expected to be a big step for autism research. 

Autism Trick-Or-Treating
Monday, Oct. 24, 2016, William Wilkie, 4, left, and Megan Krail at the The University of Texas at Dallas' Callier Center for Communication Disorders preschool class in Dallas. The curriculum is classroom-based speech, language and communication program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP

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There is no medical test available to diagnose autism. Autism is diagnosed by observing the development of a child, according to the CDC. Characteristics of autism were studied as symptoms of schizophrenia in the early 1900's.

Rep. Smith says the bill will fund research, early detection and treatment for autism spectrum disorder.