“Autism Voices” Advocates to Be Heard During Presidential Campaign

New Initiative Launched in San Diego and Across Nation

Gearing up for the November 6 election, Autism Speaks has started a new grassroots initiative called Autism Votes to advocate for people with Autism and their families to ensure that their voice is heard and their issues addressed by the candidates. This is not an effort to endorse a candidate but to get issues affecting people with Autism to the national spotlight. The Autism Votes campaign made it’s most recent splash in the ongoing campaign to get Autism advocacy addressed in the presidential debates.

From the Autism Votes Website:
Autism Votes is the Advocacy initiative of Autism Speaks. Our focus is two-fold:

1) Maximizing support and funding for autism research, surveillance, awareness and services

2) Working in state capitals, Congress and the courts for autism insurance reform that maximizes coverage for evidence-based treatments including behavioral health treatments. This is a nationwide campaign but as San Diego is known for it’s advocacy and support for people with Autism and other disabilities, the campaign has been supported by many families and organizations.

How to help locally in San Diego:

1) Reach out to 5 people or organizations that you know locally and send them to this article or the Autism Votes website. Ask them to sign up for the Autism Votes Newsletter for ongoing notifications on how to stay involved. Ask each of these people to reach out to 5 more

2) Watch and share this video as well as this one which will help to raise awareness for the campaign and all the efforts going on to support advocacy.

3) Visit your local elected officials and ask what they do to support advocacy for people with Autism.

How to help from anywhere (from Autism Votes website):

1) TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU, YOUR FAMILY, YOUR CHILD HOLDING A POSTER! The poster(s) should say something like ”My 1 in 88 can’t wait!”, “I’m 1 in 88 with autism & can’t wait!”, “Put autism in the debates.”, “We love our 1 in 88 and can’t wait for you to put autism in the debates.”Decorate the poster, be creative, have fun. Share your picture with us on your Facebook Page to show your friends what you are doing!

2) POST ON THE FACEBOOK PAGES OF CANDIDATES:You should also visit the Obama Campaign Facebook page here and the Romney Campaign Facebook page here throughout the weekend and post comments. The goal is for them to see thousands of posts from our community:

Sample Facebook Comment: (President Obama/Governor Romney) – Our 1 in 88 can’t wait for leadership and a plan surrounding all the issues the autism community faces today.  Please discuss autism in the final debate & let us know what you will do to help people living with autism today.

In this Autism Votes election video, self-advocate Amy Gravino asks the candidates, “This fall, please don’t break my heart.” And she calls on the autism community to “be a part of conversation” as the nation debates our future.