Monday, October 17, 2011

Funding Cuts Jeopardize Autism Services

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Jim Watkins first started teaching his son, Liam, to use a swing when he was two years old. But Liam, who is autistic, just couldn't get the hang of it -- until a summer day this June, more than a decade later, when Watkins noticed Liam, now 14, out in the backyard.
"There he is, swinging to beat the band," Watkins said. "It took 10 years, but he got it. He got it."
That was just one of the success stories told at Borough President James P. Molinaro's second annual Stand Together for Autism Services on Staten Island event yesterday at the Petrides Educational Complex, Sunnyside. But Island organizations that provide services to help autistic people say funding cuts are making it hard just to sustain their services -- and make it impossible to expand to help all of those children diagnosed with autism as the rate continues to rise each year.

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