I had intended to write some sort of analysis of the Presidential candidates and their policies relating to autism spectrum disorders, education, and health care. After I wrote some of it, I realized that’s an epic topic somewhere on the order of “How carbon has influenced the evolution of the Earth.”
So, I’m going to point you to the relevant parts of each candidate’s web site and let you make up your own dang minds. 🙂 I focused the links only on their web sites because 1) so many public political statements spin more than our kids do, and 2) I’m going to assume that their web site statements are considered the official positions of their respective candidates.
If you haven’t voted yet because you don’t live in an early-voting state, or do and just haven’t cast your ballot, MAKE SURE YOU VOTE! NO EXCUSES! I am not a one-issue voter and encourage you not to be either, but I know the issues below are very important to many of our readers.
Regardless of how the whole thing turns out, these policy statements are important to remember for whomever wins the election. We need to keep these issues in front of federal, state, and local governments and make our voices heard when we feel our children are being under-served and shortchanged, particularly when a candidate forgets after they’re elected that they made these promises.
Note: Do not use the comment area to gush about your favorite candidate or flame his opponent. There are a million other places to do that and I don’t feel like dealing with people arguing this week. If you have links to other fact-based information relating to the candidates’ views in these areas or to relevant statements made by the candidates, feel free to post them in the comments, preferably with minimal commentary.
And now, the candidates!
These are pretty easy to find on his site, but here are the direct links to save you some time.
- Statement on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) – PDF format
- Child Advocacy – Note particularly the section “Help Autistic Americans and their Families” on page 2, but much of the rest of it is relevant too.
- Education and Pre-K – 12 Education Fact Sheet (PDF) – This thing is long, but still worth skimming for the parts of interest to you.
- Disabilities – The video is pretty good. The link to the ASDs plan at the bottom of the page is to the same PDF I linked to above.
- Health Care – There are numerous links to various facets of his plan on this page.
I was going to use a Search box to find if there’s anything I missed, but I didn’t see one. There’s plenty in the above list to read, though.
BTW – Here’s a helpful Wikipedia overview of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that we all talk about a lot and that is mentioned by both candidates.
Most of these are pretty easy to find, too, save for the first one as I note below.
- “Combating Autism in America” – It’s weird because I had this bookmarked from a long time ago, but it doesn’t show up using his site’s search function, and I couldn’t find it linked to from anywhere. In any case, the main points of this statement seem consistent with others I’ve heard him make.
- Education | Early Childhood Education | Education Policies – There’s some overlap between these three pages, but together you get the complete picture.
- Health Care – There are lots of Obama Said/McCain Said sections on both candidate’s sites. I omitted those from Obama’s list above, so I’m also bypassing the Health Care version of that on McCain’s site in favor of the one that’s more about his policy statements.
McCain’s site did have a Search box so I used it to search on “autism” and “disability” (and “disabilities”), the latter of which to also pick up on the Individual with Disabilities Education Act. The only thing “autism” showed was a live blog from an event. If you scroll all the way to the bottom, you’ll see a brief exchange between McCain and a questioner about autism. A search on “disability” didn’t yield any new results related to this post other than what I listed above.
I realize that Sarah Palin adds a significant wildcard to this discussion on politics and special needs children since her baby has Down Syndrome. I didn’t see how this influenced the content of McCain’s web site any, however. Typically, VPs don’t drive a lot in the world of policy getting enacted, but her potential influence on these issues is too much of an unknown at this point to say anything useful about it here.
As I said, I’m omitting statements made at campaign events, interviews, and such because a) there’s way too many of them to sift through in this post, and b) a lot of those statements are so spun, sound-bitten, and vague on specifics – regardless of party – that they don’t seem useful for this exercise. You can listen to them and decide for yourselves.
Well, that’s it! Again, if you find other relevant statements made by the candidates about autism, feel free to post a link. Note: It’s possible our spam post filter will see links in your comment and put it in moderation until I look at it. Don’t take it personally. 🙂