Critical Update! Go read my action alert about the Stimulus Package before Congress!
At precisely Noon today, the White House web site officially switched over to the Barack Obama Administration. It’s important that we keep track of policies that directly affect us as parents of autistic children and stay committed to our efforts to advocate not only for our own children but children everywhere. So here are some links you’ll want to be aware of.
The Obama Administration’s statement on disabilities – The statement on Autism is at the bottom of the page (nice to see it mentioned specifically). I don’t think they’ll mind if I post it here too.
President Obama and Vice President Biden are committed to supporting Americans with Autism Spectrum Disorders (“ASD”), their families, and their communities. There are a few key elements to their support, which are as follows:
- First, President Obama and Vice President Biden support increased funding for autism research, treatment, screenings, public awareness, and support services. There must be research of the treatments for, and the causes of, ASD.
- Second, President Obama and Vice President Biden support improving life-long services for people with ASD for treatments, interventions and services for both children and adults with ASD.
- Third, President Obama and Vice President Biden support funding the Combating Autism Act and working with Congress, parents and ASD experts to determine how to further improve federal and state programs for ASD.
- Fourth, President Obama and Vice President Biden support universal screening of all infants and 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. Screening is essential so that disabilities can be identified early enough for those children and families to get the supports and services they need.
The Obama Administration’s statement on education – The statement on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) – which is the cornerstone, foundation, and the entire building for that matter with regard to the rights our children have to a free appropriate public education – is at the bottom of that page. I’ve included it here too.
Students with Disabilities
Obama and Biden will work to ensure the academic success of students with disabilities by increasing funding and effectively enforcing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and by holding schools accountable for providing students with disabilities the services and supports they need to reach their potential. Obama and Biden will also support Early Intervention services for infants and toddlers, and will work to improve college opportunities for high school graduates with disabilities.
Overall, I’d like to see much more detail on both of these and other points, but that’s why we have to keep pressing on these issues. For more information on the details he campaigned on, you can read my commentary on Barack Obama’s policies about autism, special education, children, and more from the election.
The Agenda area of the White House’s web site has a general RSS feed to help you keep updated on changes. However, it doesn’t seem to work yet.
While this is not necessarily the most effective way to have your voice heard, I do think it’s worth writing a brief but detailed comment and sending it through the White House’s contact form. I think this is also the way to sign up for major updates, though I’m not completely clear whether there’s any way to get updates just on specific policy news and not everything.
I’m feeling a bit down about prospects for legislation this year with the terrible economy. This year is North Carolina’s once-every-two-years long session, which is usually where things get done, but with the budget here and everywhere in tatters, getting increases in funding for education and services will be very difficult. But we must stay on top of things and try.
If you don’t already know, find out who represents you in local, state, and federal government and start preparing to make your contacts.
Congratulations to our new President. And as they say, “Honeymoon’s over tomorrow; then it’s time to go to work.”
More in future posts!