August Autism Matters: Scott’s Message

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As you might know, the Autism CARES Act (previously the Combating Autism Act) was approved by the House and Senate and now awaits the president’s signature. This important legislation continues many of the federal government’s efforts regarding research, training and coordination related to autism. I am very proud of the leadership role the Autism Society had with respect to this important legislation. Almost everything we advocated for was included in the final bill. I want to commend Congressman Chris Smith and his very able staff whom we proudly worked with on this legislation. We are very confident that President Obama will sign the act into law.

The Autism Society is also working with both House and Senate staff on other important legislation that can help people with autism. Working in coalitions, we are advocating for a common-sense response to addressing sheltered workshops’ sub-minimum wage payments to individuals who want to and are more than able to work in jobs that pay at least minimum wage. We are proud of the efforts of many in Congress to seek safeguards against taking advantage of workers at sheltered workshops.

We are also working with members of Congress and their staffs on improvements to the nation’s adult service offerings for people on the spectrum as well as everyone living with a disability. The one common agreement is that the current system of care needs improvement, and we are examining through a public-private partnership how best to address the needs of adults given the current budgetary constraints. We also know that if we can examine and change many policies that were developed years ago and might not be effective now, we can begin the walk down the road to quality service delivery based on measurable outcomes.

We are leading the way and effectively representing families, people with autism and professionals in our advocacy. We also do all this through staff and volunteers and do not use or pay for lobbyists. Our grassroots efforts have always proved effective at the local, state and national levels. I believe that is because of the amazing commitment and dedication of our staffs, volunteers, members and people like you who unselfishly want a world where every person living with autism is provided opportunities to maximize their quality of life.

Scott Badesch, president/CEO