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9th Annual World Focus on Autism Raises Global Awareness

autism-speaks-3The Ninth Annual World Focus on Autism event, which coincided with the 71th Anniversary of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, convened first spouses and dignitaries from across North America, Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East for an intimate breakfast to unite the global autism community. Participating nations discussed questions surrounding autism and examine disabilities in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Read the full article here.

Luke’s Best Chance: One Man’s Fight for His Autistic Son

Luke-AutismMore than a million children in America are the autism spectrum. What happens when they come of age? Luke greets me in the hallway, thrusting a book in my direction, then snatches it back and darts into his room. It’s been two weeks since I’ve seen him, and what I desperately want to do is grab him up and hug him till he howls. But because it’s been two weeks – and because he is autistic – I must begin again, from the start line, with my son.  His bedroom, per usual, is a hot mess. The floor is a Slip ‘N Slide of books he’s pulled down,

We Need to Stop Treating People with Disabilities as Less Than Human

Roxan-Perez-joins-more--than-200-protestorsIn the many countries I’ve visited over the past several years while researching conditions for people with disabilities, the one constant – and haunting – refrain I’ve heard from people with disabilities has been: “I am treated as less than human.”

It wasn’t hard to understand why they might feel that way when I saw a five-year old girl in Ghana dressed in rags, with a heavy chain secured to a nearby tree clamped around her legs. This was her fate because her family believed that she was possessed by evil spirits, which is commonly associated with having a disability in many communities.

Families Face Indefinite Wait For Services

Families Face Indefinite Wait For ServicesAbbey Etling lifts the sippy cup to her lips and drinks from it. It’s a small gesture, but one that is laden with meaning
for her mother, Sandy Etling. Being able to lift a cup, drink from it, and set it down without dropping it or spilling it—
it’s something that most adults do without a second thought dozens of times every day. But for Abbey, 22, who has
an intellectual disability and autism, it is a skill that took years to learn and master. She still struggles with putting
the cup down.

Federal Panel Seeks Input On Autism

Federal Panel Seeks Input On AutismA federal autism advisory panel is looking for public feedback as it prepares to update the government’s priorities for addressing the developmental disorder for the first time in years. The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee is soliciting comments as the group looks to revise its strategic plan. The panel comprised of government officials and members of the autism community is charged with creating and annually updating the federal government’s priorities for autism research, services and policy.

Read the full article here.

Arts for Autism

AFAJoin Autism Speaks Monday, June 20th for an amazing Broadway Show honoring our community! Arts for Autism has combined the power of Broadway stars with the energy of young aspiring artists to perform at the Gershwin Theater for one night only!!

Please consider purchasing a ticket (prices range from $35-$55). Don’t miss this amazing autism-friendly night of song, dance and philanthropy!

100% of ticket sales is donated to the mission of Autism Speaks.

To purchase tickets and learn more go to: www.artsforautism.net

Oklahoma 44th State to Pass Autism Insurance Reform

Oklahoma 44th state to pass autism insurance reformOklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed HB 2962 ensuring meaningful autism insurance coverage in the state. The law will prevent state regulated health insurers from continuing to exclude basic, evidence-based care for children diagnosed with autism. The legislation was sponsored by Senator AJ Griffin and Representative Jason Nelson and received broad, bipartisan support. “I am extremely happy that Oklahoma families will have access to services for their children learning with an autism disorder.  Now we begin the work of building a network of outstanding providers for our state,” said Senator Griffin. Click here to read more.

Autistic People Are Not Failed Versions of “Normal”

They’re different, not less

normal-1When people with developmental disabilities have the support they need to thrive, everyone benefits. In a speech at the United Nations on April 1, Steve Silberman made the case that it’s past time we all learned to honor neurodiversity. An edited version of his text follows. We are living at a very exciting time — a time of great hope for autistic people and their families.
Read the full article here.