Autism and the Environment: Families Urge Senators to Back Research

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While many in the autism community agree that research into possible causes of the disorder is vital to helping medical experts and families deal with the myriad complicated issues associated with it, others believe that time and money may be better spent looking into other aspects of autism.

Simone Tallini is one such person.

Her son is now 18, and was diagnosed with autism when he was four.

Like Mary Moen, the mother who testified on Capitol Hill today, Tallini says she fought for years to get her son the treatment he needed. His behavior ranged from self-injury to aggression against others.

She said one of the biggest obstacles to getting her son the help he needed was the lack of teachers and other school staff who didn't know how to deal with his behavior. That's a problem that she said is still very common.

"They're not prepared with the hands-on tools for dealing with children with autism. They can't handle the problem behaviors," she said.

She said she fully supports any research into what causes autism, but also wants there to be a focus on training educators and others to work with people with autism.

"I think the research is important, but I don't want to see one second, or one dollar, or one bit of resources get taken from helping the children with autism that we have."

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