Thoughts on Equality on Martin Luther King Day
January 24, 2013
By Scott Badesch, Autism Society President
The nation celebrated Martin Luther King Day on Monday. I had the true honor and privilege of meeting Dr. King once when my father took my brothers and me to an event outside of Chicago. Dr. King spoke so eloquently of the need for equality and equal opportunity for all people. That speech occurred in 1966, a year after the Autism Society was formed (in 1965). Through his words, vision and amazing commitment to equality and civil rights, Dr. King has always been an inspiration for so many of us, including those of us in the developmental disability community.
Since 1966, there is no disputing our nation has made great strides toward equality for all. But as much as we have moved forward, there is still more we must do to ensure all individuals have equal opportunity.
As I write this, nearly 70 percent of adults with autism go without meaningful employment because far too many companies have not taken the chance – and reaped the benefits – of hiring individuals with special needs. While companies such as Best Buy, the 2012 Autism Society Employer of the Year, are embracing this workforce, far too many companies remain unwilling to make the necessary accommodations. In addition, some school districts continue to deny children the right to an appropriate education. Parents call Autism Source™ all the time to ask for help obtaining the accommodations needed for success in school. Adults with autism are being denied housing because they can’t afford residential care or struggle to navigate a complicated system of services. The list goes on and on.
I mention all this because, as I celebrated the life and achievements of Dr. King, I realized the United States isn’t quite there yet when it comes to equality for all. We must never stop our efforts and must begin to change the national discussion on autism and other developmental disabilities to full acceptance, value and dignity for all who live with autism.
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.