Earlier this week, the Clinton campaign unveiled its plan to support children, youth, and adults living with autism and their families. The wide-ranging initiative addresses several substantial and complex issues facing families living with an autism diagnosis including access to early intervention programs, navigating the service system, innovation and research and family and community supports.

The Autism Society applauds efforts to increase public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by the 3.5 million people living with autism in cities and towns across the United States. While we welcome efforts to address the needs of individuals and families impacted by autism, we want to ensure policies benefit the entire disability community. As a nonpartisan organization that does not endorse political candidates specific platform or positions, we look forward to a comprehensive conversation with presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle on solutions for improving access to services and how to support the individuals and families who need it most. The needs of people affected by autism and for that matter, impacted by any disability must be part of an ongoing dialogue about our national priorities.

Next month, the Autism Society and our nationwide network of over 100 grassroots affiliates will head to Washington, D.C. to meet with lawmakers to discuss how to best support individuals with autism and loved ones. With increased numbers of people living with disabilities seeking a guiding hand through times of decreased support and wait lists several years long, we must challenge decision makers to address ongoing challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. For us to truly be successful, we must all stand up and work for full inclusion and self-determination for all, and assure that individuals with disabilities are provided the opportunity to achieve the highest possible quality of life that helps each person achieve their potential.