As Republicans attempted to repeal Obamacare for the 62nd time and defund Planned Parenthood, Hillary Clinton unveiled a major policy proposal this week to address the long-term needs of autistic Americans and their families.
The wide-ranging initiative fills many gaps in the autism safety net, including a nationwide early screening program, diagnosis, treatment, services, safety and legal protections for individuals on the autism spectrum across their lifespan. Clinton proposes an Autism Works Initiative that will establish public-private partnerships to connect people with autism with employment opportunities.
“It’s awesome,” said Mary Beth Williams, an Oregon state legislative staffer and special education advocate who is also the mother of three autistic teenagers. What really excited her, she said, is that “she talks a lot about transition to adulthood being included in IEPs, from education to post-education adulthood. How will I get a job, an apartment, cook a meal? She does a really good job addressing that, extending the school services into adulthood.
“She’s addressing a lot of the really important, basic things that are so important to the parents of autistic children that other parents take for granted.”
Forbes contributor Emily Willingham noted the language used in the policy:
This initiative, which will bring together leaders in secondary and post-secondary education as well as in the private sector and will draw on insights from social scientists as well as non-profit institutions, will foster new pathways to adulthood for individuals with autism so they can support themselves and build the lives they want.
Willingham said the italicized words were “a turning point, phrasing that places the emphasis on what autistic people want.”
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