BROOKLYN - Flanked by community groups, City Council members announced a $3 million autism initiative on the steps of City Hall Wednesday.

Autism is a developmental disorder that is often marked by the inability to function in social settings or form relationships. Some figures suggest 1 in 150 children are autistic. While no cure exists, experts say affected children can lead fuller lives with early intervention.

Councilman David Weprin and others believe their initiative will go a long way in the fight against autism. The $3 million would provide services for children during after-school and summer programs. It would also allow for a public awareness campaign and training seminars for parents.

Weprin says he will know whether or not the initiative passed by July 1. The City Council must finalize the 2008 fiscal budget in June.