You can find Obama's nine-page position paper on helping Americans with disabilities is on his website here.
Obama's platform on disabilities integrates autism supports into overall plans to provide universal healthcare coverage for, better educational services through full funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It also includes incentives for employers to hire people with disabilities and plans to support community-based residential options for people who can't live on their own. Interestingly, it includes an explicit pledge to appoint federal judges who are sensitive to the needs of disabled citizens.
Near the end of the position paper, at the bottom of page 8, comes this statement about autism:
Supporting Americans Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders: More than one million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a complex neurobiological condition that has a range of impacts on thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others. As diagnostic criteria broaden and awareness increases, more cases of ASD have been recognized across the country. Barack Obama believes we need to research treatments and search for the causes of ASD. He has been a strong supporter of more than $1 billion in federal funding for ASD research on the root causes and treatments. Obama believes we must work to guarantee that Americans with ASD can live independent and fully productive lives and to assure that their families understand and are able to support a loved one with ASD. Obama will fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to ensure that no child with ASD or any other disability is left behind. Obama will also fight to assure that the government and our communities work together to provide a helping hand to people with ASD and their families.
Obama has a long record supporting people with ASD. In the state senate, Obama sponsored legislation that became law to create the ASD Program - a systems development initiative designed to promote the implementation of evidence-based practices. And in the U.S. Senate, Obama is also a cosponsor of a measure that would expand federal funding for life-long services for people with ASD, authorizing approximately $350 million in new federal funding for key programs related to treatments, interventions and services for both children and adults with ASD.
As the field of presidential candidates shrinks—Democrat John Edwards and Republican Rudy Giuliani bowed out this week—it's notable that the two major Democrats left in the race, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and Obama, each have issued important pledges of support for people with autism. More coverage on Clinton's autism advocacy is below.
I have been looking for coverage or position papers by Republican candidates related to autism, but have failed to see anything from the campaigns of Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul. The group A-Champ (Advocates for Children Affected by Mercury Poisoning) has issued a statement hailing Sen. John McCain of Arizona for requesting a Senate hearing on autism including the issue of mercury in vaccines.
If you know more about where the Republican stand on this issue, please post a comment here.
Autism support is an issue for parents and family members of people with autism to think about when they vote for president, according to a poll posted here on December 17. More than half of those who participated in the survey identified autism services as the most important issue influencing their vote—ahead of the Iraq war, the economy, and education. It's a small, self-selected sample, but interesting for what it's worth.
• Where Do Autism Services Fit Into Your Views on the Presidential Race?
• Autism Issue Makes Ripple in Presidential Race as Clinton Promises to Spend $700 Million Per Year
• Autism Bulletin's 2007 Advocates of the Year