PITTSBURGH, FEB. 24, 2010 – Children and adults living with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can seek support through state mini-grants, state Sen. Wayne D. Fontana (D-Brookline) announced today.

Autism is a neurobiological disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others. In 2005, an estimated 20,000 Pennsylvanians were living with autism, but the Department of Public Welfare’s Autism Census Report predicted that number will grow to at least 25,000 by the end of this year.

“For these individuals to be productive members of the community, they must have access to critical support services,” Fontana said. “I’m pleased this funding is available to help ensure that autistic children, adults and their families get the support they need.”

The mini-grants may be used for respite or child care, summer camp programs and special events at educational venues, autism or advocacy related conferences, workshops or training opportunities, community programs or safety modifications or adaptations for home or community.

Eligible individuals are Pennsylvania residents who have an autism spectrum disorder or have a family member with ASD and are not currently receiving family support services.

Applications must be postmarked by April 16. For more information and an application, visit www.autisminpa.org and click on “2010 Mini Grant Information” or call the Department of Public Welfare Bureau of Autism Services at 1-888-359-7689.