June Autism Matters: Scott’s Message

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June Autism Matters: Scott’s Message

The sun is shining and the weather is warming in some parts of the country and our minds are on summer. For some, summer means a time of fun and relaxation. For others, particularly those affected by autism, it means a time of uncertainty and a lack of the support and help that often come during the school year. Fortunately, throughout our nation, 107 local and state Autism Society affiliates are helping these families and individuals. Whether it is through summer camp programs for individuals diagnosed with autism or programs to help students prepare for the next life stage, be it elementary school or adulthood, the Autism Society is there to help.

This summer there will be much discussion in Washington on the future and reauthorization of the Combating Autism Act. Reps. Doyle and Smith have already presented a bill to re-authorize the act, and the Senate will present a bill sometime in the next few weeks. We thank each for their leadership. The Autism Society is working very closely with congressional staff and leaders to ensure the reauthorization is the best possible bill.

Other bills and efforts of our national government need to be addressed when it comes to helping a person diagnosed with autism maximize his or her quality of life each and every day. We need to address portability of Medicaid services so that if a person receiving such services moves from one state to another, he or she don’t lose them. We need to do a better job of promoting self-determination and decision-making by the person getting the service so that services are used as effectively as possible to help that individual. We need to do a better job of seeking the highest positive and measurable outcomes from all government funding. We must also ensure that government is not solely responsible for helping those in need. We have a very strong private sector and faith-based communities providing valuable and effective services. We need to make sure the needs of a person are addressed collaboratively by all and put entirely on one entity. The federal government can start by examining some of its historic rules and policies related to services to individuals. It makes absolutely no sense to limit assets an individual can receive to a (very low) amount if we want that person to be self-sufficient. It makes absolutely no sense that we continue to have a system that rarely is able to help with specific needs of one individual because those needs are different from the many that do receive services.

The Autism Society is the best grassroots effort in our nation to help individuals, families and professionals work together for the best outcomes. We will be striving throughout the summer to advance this effort.

Please remember that we will be holding our 45th Autism Society National Conference & Exposition in Indianapolis on July 23-26. If you haven’t done so, we hope you’ll go to our website at www.autism-society.org, visit our conference pages and hopefully register to attend the conference.

Scott Badesch, President/CEO