Thursday, January 31, 2008

Obama Unveils Disabilities Plan, Includes Autism in Agenda; Other Notes for Super Tuesday Primaries

Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign on January 29 held a teleconference to highlight the Illinois democrat's agenda for Americans with disabilities. You can find more information here, including a short video from Obama in which he specifically cites the need to screen children around age 2 for autism.

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.

Also see:

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


Anonymous said...

I will vote for Obama but I sincerely hope he commits to CHANGE not talking about it. I also hope he sticks it to the rich white yuppie homophobic racist neo-liberals who have practically destroyed the democrat party. IF he does not commit to helping us the Autistics and the Disabled community then forget him. Atleast the republicans admit they hate us and dont promise us anything, I just cant stand liars who will say anything to get your vote. Talk is cheap OBAMA actions speak way louder than words. will see. Jean Martinet a true radical fighting for the rights of all DISABLED individuals. WE HAVE TO UNITE AND FIGHT!

mrs_silencedogood said...

Obama: “I am not for selective vaccination, I believe that it will bring back deadly diseases, like polio.”


So much for CHANGE! Goodbye change, hello Opharma!

In stark contrast to this position back in February John McCain, R-Ariz., declared that "there’s strong evidence" that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that was once in many childhood vaccines, is responsible for the increased diagnoses of autism in the U.S.


And here's what Sarah Palin said at the convention. "To the families of special needs children all across this country, I have a message for you. For years you've sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters and I pledge to you that if we're elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House".

Btw, Palin has a Down Syndrome baby and an Autistic nephew.


Unknown said...

Please mrs_silencedogood, tell me exactly how you know that Palin is going to be an "advocate" for my daughter and my family in the white house? I still have not heard one solitary plan, point or example of what she and McCain are going to do to help families with Autism, or this country for that matter...unless of course you consider "drill baby drill" a policy (and if you think that is help, then perhaps there is no help for our society). Just because Palin has a son with special needs, doesn't mean she speaks for me.

Btw, you failed to mention Obama's response to forced vaccinations in which he states: "I believe that every American has the right to access these screenings, and I believe that every American has the right also to refuse these screenings voluntarily if they so choose. I also support a thorough and independent review of our nation’s vaccination policies."

All McCain stated was that there is "strong evidence" about a thimerosal link...most everyone agrees with that. He has said nothing about being against giving vaccines, being for selective vaccines, or even doing away with them, so please tell we what is McCain for that is so appealing and different? And, even more so, what are his PROPOSALS???

TheZach said...

I'm autistic and I just wrote a letter to President-Elect Obama regarding my thoughts on his agenda

You can read my letter to Obama about Autism here

personal said...

This is very good! Obama is really a good president~

Juegos de Ben 10 said...

i say it too , I think obama is a good president , Don't you think.