Nine years ago, Congress passed the Combating Autism Act (CAA), legislation that focused federal autism research and policy activities on creating a world without autistic people. In 2011, Congress re-authorized this deeply flawed legislation, over the objections of self-advocates and our families. Now, with the CAA set to expire this year unless Congress re-authorizes it, we finally have an opportunity to change things.
ASAN is working to try and reform CAA to align its goals with those of the Autistic community. Federal autism legislation should follow the example of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act. We deserve a bill that’s about supporting Autistic Americans, not combating us. Today, only 1.5% of NIH’s autism research funding goes towards the needs of adults and only 2.4% towards improving the quality of services. By re-allocating more funds to services and adults, we can help empower autistic people and our families.
Unfortunately, the usual suspects are lobbying to re-authorize the Combating Autism Act at all costs, even if changes aren’t made to fix the problems hurting self-advocates and our families. That’s why we’re asking you to join us by signing this action alert, sending a message to your congressional delegation about why we need to reform CAA.
Here’s what you can do:
1) Sign our action alert to contact your Members of Congress and ask them to support reforming the Combating Autism Act to make it about supporting autistic people, not “combating” us. Share our action alert with your friends, family and networks to help us get this message out far and wide.
2) Post on social media about why you believe CAA has to be reformed using the hashtag #StopCombatingMe– this can be a good way to tell your friends and family about our action alert or to tweet or post to the pages of your Members of Congress to let them know why changing the Combating Autism Act is so important.
3) Contact ASAN’s Director of Public Policy at scrane@autistic