National Autistic Advocacy Group Calls on Sharron Angle to Apologize for Damaging Remarks
Washington, DC – September 24th, 2010 – The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), a national advocacy organization of Autistic adults and youth, issued a statement today expressing concern about damaging remarks by the campaign of US Senate candidate Sharron Angle(1) in respect to adults and youth on the autism spectrum:
“As Autistic adults, we’re concerned by the Angle campaign’s claim that individuals and families ‘falsely label other symptoms as autism’ in order to take advantage of insurance mandates. Lack of insurance coverage for habilitative services, such as occupational therapy and speech pathology services, is a barrier to the civil rights of Autistic Americans both young and old. Furthermore, research suggests that far from being over-diagnosed, Autistic people of all ages are under-identified, with many people going without needed services and supports.(2) Whatever one’s public policy views, fostering public ignorance and stereotypes about autism hurts Autistic people and our families. We urge US Senate candidate Sharron Angle to reconsider her campaign’s remarks and to apologize to Autistic Americans and our families for her campaign’s irresponsible statement.”
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network does not make candidate endorsements and is a non-partisan organization run by and for Autistic people. ASAN’s supporters include Autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, family members, professionals, educators and friends. ASAN was created in 2006 to provide support to individuals on the autism spectrum while working to change public perception and combat misinformation by educating communities about persons on the autism spectrum. Our activities include public policy advocacy, community engagement to encourage inclusion and respect for neurodiversity, quality of life oriented research and the development of Autistic cultural activities and other opportunities for Autistic people to engage with others on the spectrum.
(1) The Angle campaign’s remarks can be found here: http://www.mynews4.com/story.php?id=28446&n=122 – “Sharron believes that anyone affected with autism deserves the best medical coverage and treatment, and she speaks out against these expensive government mandates which falsely label other symptoms as autism because it creates this huge cottage industry that drives up health insurance cost while diluting the needed coverage for those patients affected by autism.”
(2) Safran, Stephen. (2008). Why youngsters with autistic spectrum disorders remain underrepresented in special education. Remedial and Special Education, 29. Retrieved from http://rse.sagepub.com/content/29/2/90.abstract