Advocates can be individuals on the spectrum, their parents or caregivers, other family members or people in the disability community or care about and want to promote equality and dignity for people with autism. Advocates let their opinions be heard at every level of government—local, state and federal. They fight for insurance coverage for families affected by autism, which can run in the tens of thousands of dollars annually, and judging from the fact that 23 states have passed insurance reform and 14 others are in the process of enacting legislation, their efforts are paying off. Other issues advocates support involve education, employment and housing legislation that affects people on the spectrum and their families.

The Autism Society has been promoting legislation in support of the autism community since our inception. We understand that the quality of life for individuals with autism will not improve unless we take the necessary steps to effect change in our government. We keep our members and others up to date on important legislation in state and federal government though our Vote4Autism website. In order to help our community be heard, our “Take Action” links on the site let our constituents instantly tell their legislators what they think about legislation that affects people with autism.

We also host an annual two-day Re-ACT Summit, which brings together autism advocates from across the country to respond to the new autism prevalence of one in 88, educate policymakers and advocate for choices and treatments for people with autism. The Autism Society provides advocates with a full day of training designed to increase their effectiveness while engaging with members of Congress and their staff. The training also familiarizes advocates with the various legislation and legislative proposals currently in front of Congress that impact the lives of people affected by autism. The second day the newly trained advocates take to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators and urge them to support these important issues.

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