Federal Funding for Autism Research

3 04 2010

One in every 110 children has autism. One in 70 boys is affected. There are almost 750,000 children in the United States who test somewhere on the autism spectrum.

In FY 2008, Federal spending on autism research was just $177 Million and is expected to increase to $282 million in FY09 due to $89 million in one-time stimulus funds…   That’s less than $40.00 per person with autism in the United States. 

Federal Funding for Defense Research in FY2009: $6,692 Million

“During his campaign, President Obama committed to $1 billion of annual federal spending on autism by 2012. In October, he identified autism as one of his administration’s top three public health priorities. This new prevalence data must compel Congress to take action to fulfill the President’s promise in the upcoming FY 2011 budget process,” said Mark Roithmayr, President of Autism Speaks.

It’s time to write our elected officials… and hold them to their promise. http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml





New Healthcare Law: GREAT for autism

2 04 2010

April is Autism Awareness Month and a time to talk about issues that Americans with autism and their families must face. Awkward social and language skills, sensory disintegration, misunderstandings perpetuated by movies like “Rainman,” parents’ guilt for wanting a cure that would change our children and the stigma of “imperfection” is only part of it– insurance companies discriminate against those with autism in a real and deliberate way.

Healthcare reform is personal for our family because our son has autism.

The Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act benefits Americans with autism not only by putting an end to “pre-existing conditions” and, in-effect, removing the term from our language but also provides for behavioral health treatments that are proven to have significant benefits for those with autism.

According to Autism Speaks, “…behavioral health treatment is included as part of the essential health benefits package required in certain health plans. Behavioral health treatments were added to ensure that people with autism are provided with insurance coverage of medically necessary, evidence-based behavioral treatments, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. The reconciliation bill will require the following health plans to offer at least the essential benefits package: (1) plans offered by state-based exchanges, through which individuals and small businesses can purchase coverage; and (2) plans offered in the individual and small group markets outside the exchange.”

While some say that this law doesn’t go far enough, it goes farther than any law has gone before in ending healthcare discrimination. This benefits not only children with autism but, middle aged men with heart conditions and grandmothers with diabetes.

Over the course of the past few weeks there have been significant threats made against our elected representatives because of their support of healthcare reform. These reprehensible threats have not been limited to adults who are public figures– their children have been threatened! Congressman Boccieri’s family is at risk because he stood up for our children– for the 1 in 70 boys born today with autism who cannot get healthcare insurance.

Now it’s our turn, the millions who benefit from John Boccieri’s personal and political sacrifices, to proudly stand with him because he believes, as we do, that pro-life doesn’t end at birth.





The Remaining Four Candidates on Autism

18 02 2008

I only have a few weeks until Ohio votes and am still undecided… The beauty of Ohio’s Primary system is that I can walk into the polling place and request whichever ballot I want– regardless of how I’m registered.

So, do I vote against McCain (by way of voting for Huckabee)? Or Pro one of the Democrats?

I’ve said before that the two issues that matter to me are Autism and the Economy.  I’ve also added Energy to the list. So, over the next few days I’m going to do my research and organize my thoughts by inflicting them on you…

A U T I S M

Obama:

From A-Champ: http://a-champ.org/Candidatequestionnaire2007/Obama/Fact%20Sheet%20Autism%20Spectrum%20Disorders%20FINAL%20IH.pdf

From his site: “Support Americans with Autism.More than one million Americans have autism, 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 autism have been recognized across the country. Barack Obama believes that we can do more to help autistic Americans and their families understand and live with autism. He has been a strong supporter of more than $1 billion in federal funding for autism research on the root causes and treatments, and he believes that we should increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to truly ensure that no child is left behind.

More than anything, autism remains a profound mystery with a broad spectrum of effects on autistic individuals, their families, loved ones, the community, and education and health care systems. Obama believes that the government and our communities should work together to provide a helping hand to autistic individuals and their families.”

From Obama’s Site: Plan to Empower Americans With Disabilities: http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/awdplan#

Clinton:

From MSNBC: Clinton’s Autism Plan: http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/11/25/479647.aspx

From USAA Weekly News regarding Clinton’s Autism Plan:

Clinton’s Autism Plan
Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2007 9:25 AM by Domenico Montanaro

From NBC/NJ’s Athena Jones
CLINTON WEEKEND CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK

SIOUX CITY, IA — Hillary Clinton used the first stop on a two-day, post-Thanksgiving swing through Iowa on Saturday to lay out a $700 million a year plan to help people affected by autism. The money would be spent for research and provide support for families and teachers dealing with the disorder, as well as for autistic children and adults.

The senator said autism diagnoses had risen dramatically in the last 15 years to some 25,000 each year, affecting 1.5 million Americans and their families and costing the country at least $35 billion a annually. She talked about spending time with a child with autism while living in Little Rock and her work on behalf of children with disabilities over the years.

Clinton said not enough was known about what she called one of the most urgent and least understood challenges facing the nation and not enough services were available to deal with it.

“I think it’s time we had a government and a president who recognized the seriousness of autism and addressed it head on,” Clinton told the crowd at a local Boy’s Club. She said she was at the club because of the work the organization does to provide services for children with autism.

See the whole post: http://www.usautism.org/USAAA_Newsletter/usaaa_newsletter_112607.htm

Huckabee:

I searched high and low– there doesn’t seem to be any position from Huckabee regarding Autism… This was all I found:

McCain:

McCain has requested a hearing on Autism. I had trouble finding the details– like what are they doing to “hear” about Autism? It’s stuck in the approval process and I couldn’t find anything indicating if he’s working on getting it through. He has not responded to A-Champ’s questionnaire. (Actually, neither has Huckabee or Clinton– maybe they aren’t sold on A-Champ’s mission… neither am I but, they do have some good questions– see Obama’s answers above.)

My summary:

What?! Is Autism only a Democratic issue?!

The Democrats: Clinton and Obama have actually developed plans although, in my humble opinion, Clinton’s in more of a plan that Obama’s. I think Clinton actually gets it… Obama– not so much… He seems to lump Autism in with “Disabilities” in general rather than treating it as an epidemic.

As far as the Republican candidates– McCain at least has something to say… but, it seems that it’s more as a virtue of being a Congressman not because he has any passion (or compassion?) Huckabee is a disappointment in this regard.  He seems like a good guy– I’d love to have him over for dinner– but I’m not seeing much meat in any of his policies and, I’m not seeing any policy that relates to Autism.

So, I’m no closer between Clinton and Obama.  Thing is that I don’t like Clinton (and NO– it has nothing to do with her being a strong woman!) on the other hand, I’m not terribly impressed by Obama… I’m not buying into the new Camelot… and, I have concerns that Obama doesn’t flip flop but it looks like he breaks promises. It’s fine to change your mind, it’s great to be persuaded by better/more information– it’s not ok to make a promise and then back down.  Don’t make promises until you have all the information.

On Autism I give:
1.5 to Clinton
.5 to Obama
.25 to McCain
0 to Huckabee

I guess we’ll see how the other issues– Economy and Energy– pan out.





South Carolina Debate; Still No Mention of Autism

22 01 2008

Did I miss something? It was heated. Edwards, Clinton and Obama spent a lot of time on health-care and yet, they did not mention Autism. Statistically 1 in 150 children born today will be diagnosed with Autism and yet it again did not warrant mention in this lively debate.

Does the Autism community need to sponsor a debate in order to make it a national topic?





John Edwards Autism Plan

18 01 2008

http://www.johnedwards.com/issues/health-care/autism/index.html

I’m still looking for a real plan from Barack Obama (the paragraph he has on his website just can’t be called a plan…) but, between Edwards and Clinton– Edwards certainly has the better plan for families dealing with Autism.

Please let me know if you find a real plan from Obama.  (See past posts for what I’ve found on Clinton and Obama so far.)

I’d really love to hear them talk about Autism so we can all see if there’s any passion or if it’s just something they are going to have to deal with…. The cynic I married says it’s going to take an Autistic grandchild for these politician to really care.





Barack Obama on Autism

16 01 2008

From Barack Obama on Creating a Healthcare System That Works:

Support Americans with Autism. More than one million Americans have autism, 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 autism have been recognized across the country. Barack Obama believes that we can do more to help autistic Americans and their families understand and live with autism. He has been a strong supporter of more than $1 billion in federal funding for autism research on the root causes and treatments, and he believes that we should increase funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to truly ensure that no child is left behind. More than anything, autism remains a profound mystery with a broad spectrum of effects on autistic individuals, their families, loved ones, the community, and education and health care systems. Obama believes that the government and our communities should work together to provide a helping hand to autistic individuals and their families. 

Now, for the dissection: Give me details! How would the $1 Billion be split up? Would the states, the school systems, the families see any of that? Would the assistance be only for the under $30,000 families? or can the middle class access this assistance? I want details.

Obama’s paragraph isn’t substantiated. And, with mainstream media choosing the questions candidates are asked in debates how will we ever find out what he or Edwards, or Clinton really plan to do?

I think it’s foolish for any of them to promise that they will find the cause (and or “cure”) as Clinton did– it’s not really within their control– they can promise to put a lot of money into it, offer incentives and so forth.

What I want to know is what they will do for real people who are already living with Autism. What will they do for the middle class– the catch-22 people– make too much to qualify for assistance but not enough to pay for the extras on their own.

Ok… I am really irritated about another debate going by without any mention of Autism!