Shusterman appointed to Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Caucus

HARRISBURG, April 9 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, today announced her appointment to the Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Caucus.

“Early diagnosis, proper treatment and day-to-day care management are just some of the challenges families and caretakers of those with intellectual disabilities must face,” Shusterman said. “Our responsibility as legislators is to advocate and provide support through state resources and help to remove the stigma associated with intellectual disabilities.”  

April marks the 49th anniversary of Autism Awareness Month, where it is estimated that 1 in 59 children is affected in the U.S. Data has shown approximately 6.5 million people in the U.S. have an intellectual disability, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines as a term used when there are limits to a person’s ability to learn at an expected level and function in daily life.

A freshman legislator, Shusterman will join another fellow freshman, Rep. Brandon Markosek, D-Allegheny, who was recently appointed co-chair of the caucus.

“I am thrilled to work with Representative Markosek and know that with fresh ideas and our commitment to the subject matter, we will make a difference in bringing awareness around this issue and enhance protections for Pennsylvanians,” Shusterman said.

Markosek previously served as a community outreach representative for Sen. Jim Brewster, and held several state Capitol posts in Harrisburg, as well as other government positions prior to representing the 25th Legislative District. In addition to his passion for the Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Caucus, Markosek noted his previous work experience will be an attribute to help understand the positioning of agencies that support programs under this issue.

“As we recognize Autism Awareness Month in April, I am proud to become a member of the Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Caucus — a group that understands the impact this issue has on families and strives to make it a priority all year-round,” Shusterman said.