Help to increase awareness and support for autism.
It is estimated that 90% of autism resources in the U.S. are allocated for children under the age of ten years old. Early diagnosis and therapies have been helpful for young children, however, when they enter their teen years, new concerns emerge about their quality of life in adulthood.
Autism experts predict that a virtual “tsunami” of young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders will soon overwhelm the existing resources as they seek medical care, post secondary education, employment, transportation, housing and recreation. In order to help to avert this crisis in the Orange County CA community, GAN is collaborating with other organizations to address these issues now. The following suggestions may help you to advocate for the development of additional adult supports in your community:
1. Identify government agencies and nonprofit organizations in your region that focus on providing programs and services for people with developmental disabilities. In the U.S., visit the Autism Speaks website here to locate autism resources in your community. There may already be task forces or projects underway in which you can participate.
2. Ask autism professionals and family support groups where the gaps and barriers are in current autism services and programs. Recruit other people who will work with you to develop new resources to meet those needs.
U.S. House of Representatives
Please use the following link to a site for identifying who your representatives are and how you may contact them.
Link to House of Representatives
Please use the following link to a site for identifying who your U.S. senators are and how you may contact them.
Link to Senate
California State Legislators
How You Can Advocate
Grandparents can be the best advocates for grandchildren with autism. Increasing understanding and support for the autism community will ensure a better future for your grandchild. Grandparents are typically well connected in the community to politicians, business owners and community philanthropic organizations. Here are several simple, very effective ways you can help:
Contact your philanthropic organizations to offer speakers on autism topics. Because autism is so prevalent today, there are many topics of interest to the public. Here’s an easy way you can increase information and support in your community. Ask local physicians, staff members at autism organizations or autism service providers if they will be presenters. Determine what timelines they have available for speaking engagements. Inquire if they have a favorite autism topic. Here are some suggested topics:
- What is Autism and How is it Diagnosed?
- Early Signs of Autism: What Therapies are Available?
- Autism: Its Affect on Families, Schools and the Workplace
- Employing people with Autism: What Jobs Optimize Their Skills?