The future of the SIU-Carbondale Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders is in serious doubt.
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's $26-million in temporary cuts to health and social service programs include the statewide Autism Program, which is a major funding source for the SIU-C center. Center director Valerie Boyer says she doesn't know how long they can continue to provide services without the state funding, which will be a big blow for the region.
Boyer says if their services go away, it would devastate area families because there are no other services like this in southern Illinois. Boyer says understandably the families they work with are very concerned about the center's future. Boyer says they will attempt to maintain their core services as long as possible. They include intensive behavioral and speech therapy as well as counseling services.
Boyer says the SIU-C center hopes it can hang on financially to find out if it will be renewed in July 2016. She encourages the public to contact their lawmakers to emphasize how important the autism center is to the region.