[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
2016: Autism advocates celebrate key victories at the state level
June 22, 2016
At the state level, Autism Speaks advocates across the country have celebrated a string of victories so far in 2016, including the enactment of tax-preferred ABLE savings legislation, autism insurance bills and laying the groundwork to improve housing options for thousands with autism across the country.
Autism insurance victories
Last month, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed HB 2962, ensuring meaningful autism insurance coverage in the state. The law requires certain state-regulated health plans to cover autism diagnosis and treatment, including ABA.Governor Fallin surrounded by advocates celebrating the enactment of autism insurance reform in Oklahoma
Now a total of 44 states have enacted autism insurance legislation. In May, the Ohio House Committee on Government Affairs and Oversight passed HB 350 by a vote of 8-4. The bill now moves to the House floor where it will be considered after the November elections.
In California, legislation passed the Senate to extend the existing autism insurance law and improve its terms.
Autism Speaks grassroots advocates and staff continue to educate the administration and lawmakers on the critical needs for individuals with autism to receive coverage for autism-related care in a number of other states including Iowa, where advocates and elected officials held a rally to raise awareness for the cause. The government affairs team is also actively working in Tennessee and Alabama.
Enacting legislation for savings accounts for disability expenses
So far this year, 13 states have enacted ABLE account legislation adding to the 32 state victories last year. State ABLE legislation follows enactment by the federal government of the Stephen Beck, Jr., Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014, which authorizes states to create ABLE programs. Modeled after college savings accounts, ABLE accounts will enable people with autism and their families to save for housing, education, transportation, medical, and other expenses. Assets in ABLE accounts will generally be disregarded by means-tested federal programs like Medicaid.
ABLE advocates also celebrated when Congress introduced legislation to expand the ABLE program for individuals with autism and other disabilities this year. The package includes the ABLE to Work Act, the ABLE Financial Planning Act, and the ABLE Age Adjustment Act. Advocates applauded the proposed enhancements, which would increase contribution limits, allow rollovers to and from college savings accounts, and expand eligibility.
Other legislative victories
Other state highlights included the Florida legislature which passed a budget that could move around 1,300 people off waiting lists for services. Currently, Florida has around 20,000 individuals waiting for home and community based services and the lack of capacity puts their independence and well-being at risk. The legislature also passed SB 230 – Missing Persons with Special Needs, also known as Project Leo in March. The legislation would create pilot projects in certain areas of the state to provide locating technology to aid search-and-rescue efforts for persons with special needs in cases of elopement.
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie has proposed an increase of $79.2 million for community spending for the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) in his 2017 budget, including 500 new housing vouchers totaling $5 million. Additionally, $13.2 million will go to funding community-based residential placements for 165 individuals who are living in one of the Division’s five development centers. This budget allocation is consistent with the Olmstead decision, which requires public entities to provide community-based services to person with disabilities when these services are appropriate.
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.