The Art of Autism believes it is important for autistic people and their families to participate in disability rights. Disability Rights are Civil Rights.
Here are some links:
Townhall Meetings – Attend a Townhall
What to Say – “My name is [Your Name] and I am a constituent of [Representative/Senator] [Name]. I would like to meet with the [Representative/Senator] or their staff during the upcoming Congressional recess, to talk about [name one or two issues that matter to you]. Can we set up a time?”
As of Feb. 2017 – here are the most urgent issues that you may with to call your representative about:
The elimination of the Affordable Care Act. Many people with disabilities are on the Affordable Care Act. Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities rely on their health coverage to maintain their independence and meet their medical needs. With or without a replacement, these individuals may find themselves unable to afford much higher premiums and unable to afford health care. This could eliminate health care for over 20 million in the United States. Read the ARC’s position here.
House Bill 610 (HR 610 introduced & in the Education & Workforce Committee, by 3 Republican House Reps: Lead is Andy Harris-MD (202) 225-5311, with Franks-AZ (202) 225-4576 and Olson-TX (202) 225-5951) will start school voucher program and the process of defunding public schools. The Free Lunch Program and rights for students with disabilities will be effected because it will eliminate – the Elementary and Education Act of 1965, which is the nation’s educational law and provides equal opportunity in education. ESSA is a big comprehensive program that covers programs for struggling learners, AP classes, ESL programs, programs for students of color including Native Americans; as well as Rural Education, Education for Students who are Homeless, School Safety (Gun-Free schools), Monitoring and Compliance and Federal Accountability for these and other Programs. The House 610 Bill also abolishes the Nutritional Act of 2012 (No Hungry Kids Act) which provides nutritional standards and funding to states for in-school breakfast and lunch.
Some things ESSA does for Children with Disabilities:
-Ensures access to the general education curriculum
-Ensures access to needed accommodations ( e.g. larger print, additional time) on assessments
-Ensures use of principles of “Universal Design for Learning” in materials and instruction so that all have curriculum access and ability to learn
-Includes provisions that require school districts to use research – based instruction and curriculum in schools, especially with students who represent groups that have been consistently “underperforming” or underachieving.
-ESSA also requires that states write Title I (ESSA granted federal funds to assist students and schools in poverty) plans to address how they will improve conditions for learning including: reducing incidents of bullying and harassment in schools, reducing overuse of punitive discipline practices and reducing the use of aversive behavioral interventions (such as restraints and seclusion).
All of this goes away if ESSA does. We can safely say that IDEA will be next. Call your Representatives!
The privatization of MediCare and Social Security. Last year’s Medicare Trustees Report states that Medicare is now funded through 2028, 11 years longer than the 2009 report predicted.
Defunding the Arts. Rumors are abounding that the currrent administration is going to cut funding for the National Endowment to the Arts. The Arts are very important to the disability population and something we at the Art of Autism are watching carefully.