Autism and the Election: Give Us a Seat at the Table
October 18, 2012
By Scott Badesch, Autism Society President and Chief Operating Officer
With the election now only 19 days away, I have to keep asking myself why there has been next to zero mentions of autism or any other developmental disability during a presidential debate thus far. Certainly advocates and advocacy organizations have tried to bring autism to the national discussion. And, as I watch what appears to be an endless amount of campaign commercials, I still haven’t seen one that talks about what either candidate would do to protect Medicaid funding, support autism research or include autism as a covered service in the Affordable Care Act.
Although the Autism Society is a non-partisan organization, it is our responsibility to call on public officials to pay attention to the needs of people with developmental disabilities, a group making up close to 20 percent of the total population.
It is not acceptable to ignore our community. There is a national discussion about tackling unemployment with no mention of the high unemployment rate of individuals with developmental disabilities. We hear about the importance of access to quality health care, but get silence when it comes to autism being covered in every state under the Affordable Care Act. As I write this, I worry that government funding cuts will affect our community’s access to effective government programs.
Even those of us who place great emphasis on keeping the deficit under control must recognize the trickle- down effect of Medicaid. For every ‘Medicaid dollar’ introduced into a community, there are jobs created, tax revenues secured, and employment positively affected. Not to mention, Medicaid represents one of the tenets that make this country great: our willingness to help others. In short, programs like Medicaid are not only good for the economy; they provide meaningful (and often essential) support to those who need it most.
Parents are able to work when a son or daughter receives support right in the community. Individuals that receive support in their communities show improvement and more positive quality of life outcomes.
The Autism Society applauds public officials of all levels of government that are responsive to the needs of those with autism and other developmental disabilities. However, we will not stop urging policy makers nationwide to think of our families and allow individuals with autism a much deserved seat at the discussion table - rather than waiting outside for that seat.
April 10, 2013
The Autism Society, the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots autism organization, has chosen Pittsburgh as the host city of its 44th annual conference on autism spectrum disorders.
April 5, 2013
Individuals with autism can attend the Autism Society National Conference and Exposition (in Pittsburgh) for FREE this year! Learn more: www.autism-society.org/conference.
April 3, 2013
Monarch Teaching Technologies, the makers of VizZle®, web-based educational software for visual learners with autism, will give one-year of free VizZle to every new (or renewing) Champion Member during April.
April 2, 2013
Read the Autism Society’s digital magazine about autism spectrum disorders!
April 2, 2013
Today, throughout the world, individuals will come together highlighting the needs and dreams of people living with autism.