ACTION ALERT: Will Your Member of Congress Support Autistic People?

Photo of capitol building

Dear friends,

We need your help. This summer, President Obama signed into law the Autism CARES Act, replacing the Combating Autism Act and giving us an opportunity to turn over a new leaf in federal autism policy. But we need more than just a change in name – we need a change in policy.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has drafted a letter to the Administration urging them to implement Autism CARES in a way that includes Autistic people and increases the amount of funding going towards services research. The letter will be going out to the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health soon. We need you to help us get your Member of Congress on it.

Here’s what you can do:

1) Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

2) Tell the Operator you’re calling to speak to your Representative’s office and give your zip code to let them find it.

3) After they connect you with the office, use the following script:

“Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME], I’m a constituent and live in [YOUR TOWN] and am calling to urge Congressman/Congresswoman [THEIR LAST NAME] to sign on to the Schakowsky letter about including autistic adults in the research process. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky is the lead signatory. Could I speak with the staffer in your office responsible for health policy issues?”

[After being connected with that staffer]

“Hi, I’m a constituent and am calling to encourage you to sign on to Congresswoman Schakowsky’s letter to the Administration urging the inclusion of autistic adults in the autism research process. This is a very important issue – today, only 2.4% of federal autism research dollars go to services and less than 1.5% go to the needs of adults. Waverly Gordon is the staff member in Rep. Schakowsky’s office responsible for the letter. Would you be willing to reach out to her to discuss your office signing on?”

[After they give you a response]

“Thanks so much. Can I get your e-mail address so I can send you a copy of the letter and follow up with you afterwards?”

[After they give you a response to this]

“Thanks so much for taking the time. Have a good day!”

4) Follow up with an e-mail to the office, attaching a copy of this letter and urging them to sign on to support the inclusion of autistic people in autism research.

After you make the call, reach out to ASAN’s Director of Public Policy, Samantha Crane, at and let us know how it went so we can keep track of progress. We need your help to make a difference.

Thank you, and as always, Nothing About Us, Without Us.

Warm regards,

Ari Ne’eman
Autistic Self Advocacy Network