Senator Craig M. Johnson joined residents from across the 7th Senate District, and all of Long Island, for the 9th Annual Walk Now For Autism at Jones Beach.
The three-mile walk, the largest such event in the country, attracted more than 23,000 participants and was slated to break last year's donation record of $2.2 million. The money raised will fund autism research, advocacy and related functions.
"With instances of Autism Spectrum Disorders exploding, we need to do everything we can to better understand this condition and support the families as they support their loved ones," Senator Johnson, who was one of two elected officials to address the crowd before the start of the walk, said. "I am proud to be a part of this very important event, and will do whatever I can to help this very worthy cause."
At the walk, Senator Johnson spoke of the importance of passing (S.3121) legislation that would direct health insurance companies to pay for the prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
He is also the sponsor of legislation (S.7595) that provides for a statewide study on the number of children affected by an Autism Spectrum Disorder and for the additional training of educators.
Additionally, he is sponsoring legislation (S.5741) to require fingerprinting and criminal background checks for prospective employees of special education schools and special act school districts.
This summer, Senator Johnson joined local families traveling to San Francisco to protest radio host Michael Savage, after he made derogatory comments about those diagnosed with Autism, and their families.