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.
3. Contact local and national elected officials to encourage their sponsorship of legislation and funding for lifetime resources. Autism Votes has information about current legislative actions in the U.S. and you can advocate online and in other ways. Some adult resources, like housing, will take years to develop.
Act now to ensure the best quality of life for your grandchildren in adulthood.
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
Enter your California address and click the locate button to find your State Senate and Assembly representatives.
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:
Sign up to be notified of any state or federal initiatives on the Autism Votes website You will receive information about national and local legislative issues and learn how you can advocate for them. Contact your elected officials to encourage them to sign on to support any proposals that will benefit people with autism. Notify your family and friends about how they can help, too.
Contact business owners you know and local merchants or companies you patronize. Inquire if they have jobs or training positions for people with developmental disabilities. If they are receptive to learning more, contact someone on the staff of a local employment agency that serves people with disabilities or a job recruitment specialist in a high school Transition Work Program who can explain employer benefits. Plan to join them at their appointment.
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?
Call or write a letter to the president or program chairperson of the philanthropic organization and offer to provide a speaker for one of the meetings. Follow up within 2 weeks with a call, email or letter to see if you can confirm a presentation date. Notify the speaker to schedule the event. Ideas for additional topics and presentations can be found on the GAN website, www.ganinfo.org in Past Events.