[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
ABLE Act Wins Warm Reception At Senate Hearing
July 23, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC (July 23, 2014) — The ABLE Act, which would allow tax-free savings accounts for people with disabilities, was warmly received today by a U.S. Senate committee which heard testimony from supportive witnesses, including Bob D’Amelio, a North Carolina advocate who spoke on behalf of Autism Speaks.
The hearing by the Senate Finance Committee’s subcommittee on taxation and IRS oversight, was the first by Congress on the bill, S.313, which was introduced in February 2013. Sponsored by Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA), left the bill has 74 co-sponsors; the House version, HR.647, sponsored by Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), has 367 co-sponsors.
“No other bill in Congress has this level of bipartisan, bicameral support,” said Casey, who chairs the subcommittee. “This level of support is a testament to the hard work of families and other disability advocates, many of whom are present here today. It is also reflects the importance of what the ABLE Act does.”
The ABLE Act (Achieving A Better Life Experience) would mirror Section 529 college savings accounts by allowing families and individuals with disabilities to set aside tax-free savings to pay for housing, education, transportation, job support and other costs. Participants would not lose their Medicaid or Social Security benefits.
“The legislation we are considering today is a step towards making the promise of the Declaration of Independence ring true for all of us,” said Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY), the ranking member of the subcommittee.
D’Amelio and his wife, Christi, live in Charlotte with their three children, including two sons with autism.
“The current section 529 plans fall short for the many individuals with autism and other disabilities who cannot or choose not to go on to college,” D’Amelio testified before the committee. “As much as anything else, the ABLE Act is about fairness. If Christi and I can use a college savings account to provide for our daughter Lindsey’s future, why can’t we use something similar to take care of Nicholas and Christopher?
“I would love to sleep at night knowing that I was doing everything I could to secure the future of my children. My son Christopher is a very smart young man, but he will need a job coach and at some point a residential program,” he continued. “Saddling my daughter Lindsey with a big financial burden is not fair when Christi and I can provide for Christopher. Lindsey is already mature beyond her ten years of age. She knows that she will be looking after Christopher and keeping tabs on Nicholas for her entire life.”
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), right, the lead Senate Republican sponsor of ABLE, said, “It’s hard for me to find a reason why anyone would want to get in the way of a bill that allows the parents of a disabled child the opportunity to save their own money for their child’s future and to give that child a shot at financial independence.”
Other witnesses included Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), whose son, Cole, has Down syndrome; Sara Wolff, a self-advocate and board member with the National Down Syndrome Society; and Chase Alston Phillips, a financial advisor from northern Virginia.
“Our outdated laws encourage women and men with disabilities to resign themselves to a life of dependence by spending down their assets rather than saving them for future expenses,” said McMorris Rogers. “Unless families have the resources to hire an attorney to create a special trust or some other complicated savings vehicle, there is no other option to establish financial security without risking access to critical government programs for individuals with disabilities. And that’s just not fair.”
Because ABLE is a tax bill, it must be first voted out of the House.
The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic Community
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.