Friday, October 26, 2012

A Parent's Perspective: "Autism and the GOP"

Back in April, a parent of a child with autism wrote a passionate defense of government programs that support people with autism, and how proposed cuts in the Ryan budget would affect them and their families. Among the programs:
  • Birth To Three: Provides early intervention services
  • IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act): Mandates a free appropriate public education for ages 3-21
  • SSI: Supplemental Security Income (from Social Security)
  • Medicaid: Health insurance
  • Department of Developmental Disabilities: Provides a case manager, funding and some programming depending upon level of need for individuals that also have an intellectual disability
This parent wrote, "People who have high-functioning autism, Asperger's syndrome, or those who don't have a dual diagnosis of intellectual disability, don't receive services once they graduate from high school. The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services provides services for a limited time and then is phased out.
"IDEA has never been funded properly. Parents constantly and continually have to fight for educational programming. The maze of obtaining services once children turn 18 years old is a nightmare. The quality of services and level of funding now are not adequate, but if the Republicans have their way, it will get worse....

"People with autism are growing up.  They want to live productive lives as independently as possible.  Without early intervention, education and safety net supports, their outcomes will deteriorate.  The numbers of people diagnosed with autism is growing.  Ignoring this issue will not make it disappear....
"In 2012, 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.  Some of those children will be born into Republican households....Social Darwinism's 'survival of the fittest' doesn't sound so good when it happens to your child and family."
Read the full post, "Autism and the GOP."

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