As part of The Arc’s collaboration with various disability organizations, Michele Trivedi, Manager of The Arc Insurance Project, joined 5 other advocates from Indiana at the invitation-only Autism Speaks Leadership Summit the week of June 15, 2015.
Autism Leaders from across the nation were invited by Autism Speaks to attend the 2-day leadership conference that included a day on Capitol Hill. Indiana Autism Leaders met with Senators Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly; and Representatives Todd Young, Todd Rokita and Peter Visclosky. Meetings with the remaining members of Congress will take place over the next several weeks when the Representatives are back home in Indiana.
The Autism Speaks Goes to Washington Day focused on five key policy points that affect all persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities, including autism:
21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 6) – A bipartisan effort in Congress to encourage greater medical innovation, speed up the progress in medical treatment, and encourage personalized medicine – individualized, tailored treatment for various conditions.
Safety – Avonte’s Law (S.163) – 50% of people with autism wander from safety; often, this results in tragedy. Other safety risks associated with the challenges of autism make our community seven times more likely to interact with first responders than the general population. This law would increase access to resources, tools and education to prevent tragic outcomes and promote safety and prevention.
Transition – Members of Congress were asked to fully fund IDEA in 2015 and make placement in a community-based internship or work experience a priority for transition planning in high school.
Employment – Members of Congress were asked to fully fund state vocational rehabilitation services and improve the oversight of vocational rehabilitation services to improve employment rates and to better ensure meaningful employment for persons with disabilities.
The Arc of Indiana Foundation’s Erskine Green Training Institute and Teaching Hotel was shared as an innovative example of how unemployment and job training can be addressed.
Housing and Community Living – Members of Congress were asked to establish a permanent financing solutions for housing and community living supports for persons with disabilities. Current funding through Medicaid and federal low-income housing programs are limited and are not meeting the needs of the community.
Indiana Congressional Autism Caucus Members
Senator Joe Donnelly
Representative Andre Carson
Representative Luke Messer
Representative Jackie Walorski
Representative Todd Young
For more information about Autism Speaks’ legislative priorities visit www.autismspeaks.org
Top Photo: Michele Trivdedi, second from right, with Senator Joe Donnelly
Bottom Photo: Michele Trivdei, fourth from right, with Senator Dan Coats