"BARACK OBAMA: SUPPORTING AMERICANS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS
More than one million Americans have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a complex condition that impacts communication, socialization, and behavior. And more cases of ASD are being recognized across the country at an alarming pace. Barack Obama believes that we must do more to help support Americans with ASD, their families, and their communities. Throughout his career, Barack Obama has worked with families affected by ASD to raise awareness and to provide support to parents and families living with ASD. As president, Obama will build on these many years of advocacy and ensure that his administration prioritizes ASD research, public awareness, and lifelong support services. Obama will seek to increase federal ASD funding for research, treatment, screenings, public awareness, and support services to $1 billion annually by the end of his first term in office. Obama will also continue to work with parents, physicians, providers, researchers, and schools to create opportunities and effective solutions for people with ASD.
Record of Leadership on ASD Research and Care: As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama sponsored legislation that became law to create an ASD diagnosis education program, an initiative designed to promote the implementation of evidence-based practices. The goal of the project is to offer educational opportunities at all levels of care, including physicians, early intervention (EI) specialists, psychologists, teachers, day care providers, parents, respite workers, and speech and language therapists. Obama has personally worked side-byside with Illinois families affected by ASD to support efforts to build the Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research. This school and research center will bring together education, academic research, early intervention programs, and training to prepare its students for independent living.
In the U.S. Senate, Obama is a cosponsor of a measure that would expand federal funding for life-long services for people with ASD, authorizing approximately $350 million in new federal funding for key programs related to treatments, interventions and services for both children and adults with ASD.
Appoint Federal ASD Coordinator to Oversee All Federal ASD Efforts: Barack Obama will ensure all federal ASD activities occur in an efficient manner that prioritizes both research and supports for families affected by ASD. Obama will appoint a Federal ASD Coordinator to oversee federal ASD research and federal efforts to improve awareness of ASD and improve the training of medical professionals to identify and treat ASD. By establishing one top-level point person to coordinate ASD efforts in the White House, Obama will ensure that ASD receives the recognition and priority it deserves in the federal government. The Federal ASD Coordinator will also be tasked with eliminating bureaucratic obstacles that may be delaying implementation of important ASD measures and ensuring that all federal ASD dollars are being spent in a manner that prioritizes results. The Coordinator will work with state task forces on ASD to ensure effective communication and collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies.
Fully Fund the Combating Autism Act and Federal Autism Research Initiatives: Barack Obama supported the Combating Autism Act of 2006, which was signed into law in December 2006. The Combating Autism Act authorizes increased federal funding for ASD research and efforts to boost public awareness and early diagnosis of ASD. Since the bill has been enacted, however, federal funding for ASD has not increased to the levels authorized by the Combating Autism Act. As a U.S. Senator, Obama has worked to fully fund the Combating Autism Act and as president, he will ensure that his administration addresses the growing impact of ASD and other special needs on American families. President Obama will fully fund the Combating Autism Act, which provides nearly $1 billion in autism-related funding over 5 years, and work with Congress, parents and ASD experts to determine how to further improve federal and state programs.
Support Special Needs Education for Children with ASD: Barack Obama understands that children with special needs – students with visual, hearing, physical, sensory, and mental impairments – require meaningful resources to succeed both inside and outside the classroom. Obama is a strong supporter of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and supports full federal funding of the law to truly ensure that no child is left behind. The current underfunding of IDEA causes school districts throughout the country to deny necessary services to students with ASD and other special needs. Obama will also work to change IDEA’s definition of “autism” to Autism Spectrum Disorders to ensure that all children diagnosed with ASD disorders receive the support they need.
Support Universal Screening: While roughly 90 percent of infants in the United States are currently screened for various potentially disabling or life-threatening conditions, fewer than half the states screen all infants for the full recommended panel of 29 disorders. Many of these conditions, if caught early, can be treated before they result in permanent impairments or even death. Barack Obama believes we should screen all infants, and also that we must set a national goal to provide re-screening for all two-year-olds, the age at which some conditions, including ASD, begin to appear. These screenings will be safe and secure, and available for every American that wants them. Part of Obama's early childhood intervention plan will be directed at coordinating fragmented community programs to help provide all children access to screening for disabilities as infants and again as two-year olds. Achieving universal screening is essential so that disabilities can be identified early enough for those children and families to get the special supports and resources they need.
Work Together: As part of his commitment to open the doors of our government to the American people, Barack Obama is committed to facilitating open dialogue among Americans with special needs and their families, federal and state agencies, regional centers, resource centers, research institutions, school districts, first responders, and community members."
Now seems as good a time as any to highlight the candidates respective autism platforms...
"John McCain is very concerned about the rising incidence of autism among America's children and has continually supported research into its causes and treatment. He has heard countless stories about families' hardships obtaining a diagnosis for their children's autism and accessing quality medical treatment. He believes that federal research efforts should support broad approaches to understanding the factors that may play a role in the incidence of autism, including factors in our environment, for both prevention and treatment purposes.
John McCain was proud to lend his support to the Combating Autism Act of 2006, which he cosponsored, and worked to ensure its enactment. This law is helping to increase public awareness and screening of autism spectrum disorder, promote the use of evidence-based interventions, and create autism Centers of Excellence for Autism Spectrum Disorder Research and Epidemiology. John McCain understands that despite the federal and scientific research efforts to date, the exact causes of autism are not yet known and greater research is needed to understand this disorder. That is why in November 2007, he joined with Senator Lieberman in requesting the leadership of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal research into autism, to hold a hearing on federal research efforts regarding factors affecting incidence and treatment in order to help determine where research efforts can best be directed. As President, John McCain will work to advance federal research into autism, promote early screening, and identify better treatment options, while providing support for children with autism so that they may reach their full potential."
That's not an endorsement. I was sort of excited when I heard about it. I had really hoped for a woman in one of the top two offices in the land. Then at dinner with DH, he told me that she was a mother with a special needs child, her newborn son. Again, sort of exciting - maybe this woman with McCain (whom I have always liked as a personality and a statesman, even though I don't agree with his politics completely) would be the one to affect change for children with special needs, to fully fund IDEA, to make more Medicaid Waiver funds available to the states to help families struggling in the face of disabilities, to require health insurances to cover autism.
I came home and Googled her. A working mom, I get that. I am one myself. But she didn't take a maternity leave? WTF? Who doesn't take time to spend with their newborn child, to nurse, to bond, to have those precious moments. Women who need to go back to their jobs to support their families - it's sad, but if you are a waitress and not entitled to paid time off, I understand. But this - this is anathma to who I am as a woman and a mother. I am still not that enthusiatic about Barack Obama, but McCain's choice will ensure that I don't have a weak moment and vote for him in November. Maybe I am being harsh, but I just can't understand a woman not wanting to spend a few weeks exclusively with a newborn.
"American families by the millions are struggling with soaring health care costs and declining coverage.
I will never forget the parents of children with autism and other serious conditions who told me on the campaign trail that they couldn't afford health care and couldn't qualify their children for Medicaid unless they quit work and starved or got a divorce.
Are these the family values the Republicans are so proud of?"
Bill Clinton just mentioned autism in the DNC speech!!!! My sister called to tell me. I have it streaming on cnn.com now. I guess I should watch tomorrow for Obama's speech. I hope McCain will give it a mention as well. Autism should be an important issue. To me, it is more pressing than Iraq. Forget the war, I am busy fighting my own here.
I haven't had a chance to watch much TV at all this week.
Note: Bad U2 cover - that is sacriledge. I am just saying...
An interesting article regarding the rise of autism in a Somali immigrant community. Not that I am a medical type, but I think a great deal could be learned from the study of small groups... fewer variables or at least a little more in common genetically.
And my life is still in boxes. I can't find my mom's library book (which I thought was in a box in my office.) I can't find my FIOS DVR, which I need to mail back in the next day or two. I can't find my big box of work shoes, which I really need out and about in the next week.
I am having a semi-serious health problem - looks like I am having my first serious outburst of colitis in many years. I haven't had a problem since I was a teenager and now I am living with a dull burning in my stomach and a few other unmentionable side affects, all from the enormous stress of the past few months. I am following up with a specialist - the downside is that I am getting another colonoscopy (a few years before I am due), the potential upside is since my stomach hurts every time I eat, I might lose a few more pounds.
Jimmy finished his summer stint at the Matthew Center. They were great. He is sharing daycare arrangements with Jacob next week, then it is back to school and aftercare. Jacob will be getting an afterschool sitter as well. I am still trying to figure out the morning thing - hopefully that will be made clearer to me before the end of this week. Since both have door-to-door service (Jacob because of age and Jimmy because of disability), their transportation schedules are different than the posted bus routes.
From an e-mail that I was sent. I will be calling all these people this coming week and encourage my friends and readers to do the same to support Virginia HB83. I would love to see this committee hearing get the attention it deserves.
Again, my thanks to Delegate Jackson Miller for co-sponsoring this legislation.
Subject: Please support Autism Insurance Mandate
I am writing to urge you to support HB-83, the autism insurance reform bill, which will come before the Special Advisory committee for consideration in September 2008. This bill sponsored by Delegate Marshall, will end insurance discrimination for children with autism and provide them with the medically necessary health coverage they need.
Today, 1 in 150 individuals are diagnosed with autism, making it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes and AIDS combined. When children with autism receive appropriate services, they can make great gains and improve significantly.
This bill is a common sense and fiscally responsible way of helping families in Virginia access health care services from which they are currently excluded due to their child’s autism diagnosis. I urge you to help end this blatant discrimination by supporting HB-83.
Thank you for your support in this important matter to my family.
We're okay. There is so much to do to getting the old townhome ready to rent and getting unpacked here. I could use an extra week of vacation, but alas, I go back on Monday. I am trying to pace myself. Jimmy went to bed an hour ago, so I have about eight boxes in front of me to unpack as my goal as I watch Michael Phelps and (finally) Dara Torres. DH hates the Olympics, but I love it. I admire athletes - more than merely being thin or healthy (things I continue to aspire to), they have such command over their bodies, a command with which they do amazing things. Michael Phelps swims like he has gills. Gymnasts flip and fly effortlessly. I am watching the marathon right now. I can't imagine running 26 miles. And none of these women have iPods on! How the heck do you do that???
It has hardly been without stress, but I have enjoyed my break. I needed it. I will likely put in for summer school next year or really find a little better structure for my time in the absence of buying a house and moving, but I can't imagine not having a school schedule now. I have said it before, I love my job. I love the kids, the work, and the perks!!!
Jimmy has session tomorrow morning. Community outings to work on his elopement and seat time. Better get through those boxes quickly.
Sorry for the posting layoff, but a lot has been going on. We have moved into a single family home in town. We are getting the townhome ready to rent - might be done in a week and on the market. And, of course, I go back to work in three days. I barely have started to unpack, but the rental really is the priority.
Jimmy is adjusting nicely to our new home. Jacob is thrilled beyond words. I will feel a little more financially secure once we get the other place rented. I guess it's all good - we were on top of each other before. This gives us room to breathe and space for company. Since Jimmy's elopement issues have gotten worse, I think we will be homebound for a while to preserve our own sanity.
I have lots more to say, but my brain is just fried at the moment. And the gymnastics all-around starts shortly. (Yes, I am a fan of that, as well.) My two Olympic wishes:
1. A 1-2 finish for Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin... 2. A medal for Alicia Sacramone in Saturday's vault final. Hey, you try getting on a balance beam the way she did and tell me you can do it better than her. I am all about redemption.
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