Main Content

Contacting your Members of Congress

Thank you for your interest in asking your members of Congress to urge the FDA to #StoptheShock! If you live in the United States, you have 3 members of Congress: 2 Senators and 1 House Representative. You can find the information to contact your members of Congress at contactingcongress.org.

Phone Calls

The quickest way to get in touch with your members of Congress is by calling their office. You will speak to a staff member of your members of Congress when you call their office, who will let your members of Congress know about your call. Here is a script for asking your members of Congress to help #StoptheShock.

You: Hello, I would like to make a comment to  [Senator NAME/Representative NAME]  about the FDA’s proposed ban of electric shock devices.

Staff member: Certainly. Please go ahead.

You: Thank you. My name is  [your full name] , and I am from  [your city] . I am a constituent of  [Senator NAME/Representative NAME] , and I’m calling to ask  [Senator NAME/Representative NAME]  to write a letter to the FDA urging them to finally ban electric shock devices used at the Judge Rotenberg Center. 5 years ago, the FDA found that there is no way to use these devices without significant harm, and in 2016, they proposed a rule to ban the device. Since then, they have said they are working on finalizing the rule, but we need Congress to hold them accountable. You can find more information and a sample letter to the FDA at autisticadvocacy.org/fdaletter.

I depend on  [Senator NAME/Representative NAME]  to stand up for people with disabilities – can I count on  [him/her]  to write to the FDA?

Staff member: I will give your message to [Senator NAME/Representative NAME]. Would you like for [him/her] to send a response to you?

You:  [Yes/No] . Thank you for your time, good-bye.

Staff Member: Thank you for your comments. Have a good day.

Letters & Email

Sending a letter or email to your members of Congress is also a good option. The script you can use for a letter or email is pretty similar to a phone call. Here is a template you can use:

[Senator NAME/Representative NAME]
[Address]

Dear [Senator NAME/Representative NAME]

My name is [your full name], and I am from [city]. I’m writing to ask you to write a letter to the FDA urging them to finally ban electric shock devices used at the Judge Rotenberg Center. Every day, people with disabilities are being hurt physically and psychologically by these devices. 5 years ago, the FDA found that there is no way to use these devices without significant harm, and in 2016, they proposed a rule to ban the device. The FDA has continually said that they are working on finalizing the rule, but we need Congress to hold them accountable. You can find more information and a sample letter to the FDA at autisticadvocacy.org/fdaletter.

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my email. I depend on you to stand up for people with disabilities – can I count on you to write to the FDA?

Sincerely,

[Your full name]
[Address]
[Phone Number]
[Email Address]


Tips for contacting your members of Congress:

If you can’t talk on the phone, you can use an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device, like an iPad, to type out what you want to say. Then, use text-to-speech to have your text read out loud while you are on the phone. You might want to start by saying that you are using a text-to-speech device because of your disability. If the staff member has questions for you after you say what you want to say, you can let them know you need some time to answer.

If you can’t talk on the phone, you can use an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device, like an iPad, to type out what you want to say. Then, use text-to-speech to have your text read out loud while you are on the phone. You might want to start by saying that you are using a text-to-speech device because of your disability. If the staff member has questions for you after you say what you want to say, you can let them know you need some time to answer.

You can also write out your script and have someone else read it for you over the phone. All they have to do is say at the beginning of the call that they are speaking for you by saying

Hi, my name is [their name] and I am calling on behalf of [your name], who can’t speak.

If you are able to speak but get anxious when talking to people, you can also call after the office is closed (usually after 5 p.m. EST, or on the weekends). This way, you will get an answering machine to leave a message instead of having to talk to a person.

Writing a letter is a little more helpful than writing an email. Your members of Congress are more likely to notice a bunch of paper letters than a bunch of emails. So if you have to choose between the two, try writing a letter!

The staff people for your members of Congress who read the emails and letters usually don’t read the whole thing. Instead, they will skim to find out what law the email or letter is about. So it is important to keep what you write short and sweet, but still show why working to #StopTheShock is so important to you.You don’t have to follow the exact scripts that we wrote here. Adding personal details about why #StopTheShock matters to you can help staff members remember your story.

Skip to top

More information