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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 13, 2013, 09:25 PM

Some North Dakota lawmakers are trying to pass an Autism Awareness Bill

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- North Dakota lawmakers are taking notice of a disorder now affecting more people in this state than ever before.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- North Dakota lawmakers are taking notice of a disorder now affecting more people in this state than ever before.

Today, about one of every 88 children born, has Autism. Some legislators now fighting to pass a bill they believe would help them and their families.

Sharbono: "I think it's a good idea because it's very hard for families to navigate the system and figure out where to even turn for services."

Kristin Sharbono's 4-year-old son is one of roughly 500 children living in North Dakota with Autism.

Sharbono: "Since he was about 10 months old he had developmental delays."

Back in 1980 the odds were roughly 1 in 10,000. Now that number has jumped to one in 88.

To figure out why, snd exactly how many people statewide are affected, lawmakers have introduced Senate Bill 21-93, that would create a database of all cases.

Eric Monson: "That would be a very worthwhile effort. They've been used in healthcare for a number of years."

Eric Monson works at the Anne Carlsen Center, working with people with autism daily, and says the confidential database could be used to help them.

"They help track some of the treatments, some of the effectiveness of treatments and so forth."

The bill also seeks hundreds of thousands of dollars for research, training, and funding to cover treatment costs... for families like Sharbono's.

Sharbono: "Health insurance does not cover these services and the longer that kids go without the services, the more severe I believe that their challenges are going to be."

The bill has passed the Senate and is now in the House.

The bill also aims to create a state autism coordinator, who would be available to provide information and services for people living with the disorder.

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