PARAMUS - Sen. Robert Menendez gathered with young adults with autism and their families to celebrate legislation that will help fund research and support programs.

The U.S. Senate has passed the Autism Cares Act, which was introduced by Menendez.

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The law sets aside funding for autism programs, like research to determine the causes of the disorder.

It also addresses the needs of autistic adults, such as programs that teach them life skills.

The Care Act also will fund programs for children. Including, Menendez says, "new early diagnosis and intervention techniques and more effective supports and services for those with autism and their families."

According to the CDC, autism rates jumped 30 percent between 2008 and 2010. In New Jersey, one in 45 children is autistic. The state has the highest rate in the nation.