As you read this, our once every four-year national Presidential election is close to a month away. While the Autism Society of America and each of our affiliates must assure that we are always non­partisan, I do encourage each eligible voter to exercise his or her right, and I believe responsibility, to vote. This November, many of us will also have the opportunity to elect other national, state and local officials.

This year, we are hearing more and more that individuals seeking national office are discussing disability issues impacting families and individuals across the country. I encourage each of you to ask questions of these candidates (or read their policy positions) related to autism and other disabilities. Decide for yourself who of the candidates running for office best represents, and will address, the issues of importance to you regarding disability-related services and programs. If you haven’t done so yet, educate yourself on the positions candidates take related to these issues. Often, a candidate’s position statements are on his or her campaign website.

As I have written about in the past, it is important that we never stop advocating for responsive and supportive help to all impacted by autism and other disabilities, so that each can maximize his or her quality of life. We can’t slow down on our advocacy efforts to get every elected official to understand and value the important self-worth and full dignity of each person with autism and any other disability. We can’t allow discrimination of any individual with a disability to occur, be it at the local, state and/or national level. And, we have to have responsive national and state efforts that are successful in getting meaningful and living wage employment, community-based housing, and much more for adults with an autism diagnosis, as well as those with other disabilities. Voting, to me, is the best form of advocacy. So, please, no matter who you vote for, just make sure to vote!