The Autism Society works to influence public policy, with an emphasis on Education, Medicaid, and Employment –issues which are all vital to individuals with autism and their families. Through our Governmental Affairs staff, we represent you at the White House and executive branches such as the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Education and Department of Labor as well as many others. The Autism Society relies upon a proactive approach to advocacy by working alongside policy makers, elected officials and their staff to advance the well-being of all living with autism. We often times work in collaboration with national disability rights organizations, so we have a stronger voice on Capitol Hill.
At the state and local levels, Autism Society affiliates advocate for individuals and families impacted by autism in communities across the nation. Each year, volunteers and staff from around the United States come to Washington, D.C. to meet with their national elected officials and to promote a legislative agenda that improves the quality of life of each individual diagnosed with autism.
The Autism Society has impacted public policy by the following ways:
- Working in collaboration with other national organizations to pass the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which allows families of children living with disabilities to save for college and other expenses in tax-deferred accounts without losing access to critical federal safety nets
- Working with affiliates at the local and state level to understand therapies covered by state insurance laws to provide effective treatment for individuals with an autism diagnosis
- Advocating to ensure the passage of the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act, which provides for interagency coordination of autism services with the federal government and provides for research funds for autism
- Supporting affiliates in their efforts at the local and state level to ensure there is early screening for an autism diagnosis, as early as age 18 months
- Working for Keeping All Students Safe Act, legislation regulating restraint and seclusion
- Working to increase funding for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), enabling students with disabilities to receive a fair and appropriate education.
By advocating at the federal level, the Autism Society is assuring each individual diagnosed with a developmental disability, including autism, will always be provided full opportunity to live his/her life as independent as possible and always respected, valued and assured of the highest level of dignity.
Raise Your Voice!
Our government officials are charged with representing our interests, but it’s our responsibility to let them know what we need. If you’re having trouble finding services and your state can’t help, call the governor and raise the issue. If your county provides an excellent program to support your child, email your representative with a thank-you. If there’s a congressional election coming up, write your district’s candidates and ask them what they’re doing for people with autism. We need to let our representatives know that we are paying attention and we want our government to care about autism!
#IgniteUrPower –make your voice heard on important issues, and shape policies and practices that improve services
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