Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Meeting Minutes, April 2008

During the meeting, we identified several ways in which we could improve our connections and visibility in the community. We decided that it would be desirable to contact various people at Wright State University and in the Ohio legislature and Washington DC regarding our group. Current legislative proposals addressing autism, which we may wish to discuss with legislators and others, include Rehabilitation Services Commission funding and expanding insurance coverage for autism-related therapies. We want to stress the point that funds for therapies should be directed to known beneficial uses, such as speech therapy, and not wasted on unproven and possibly harmful alternative fad treatments.

We agreed that letter-writing campaigns would be helpful to raise the visibility of the autistic community's concerns among legislators, magazine publishers, and others who may not be aware of the civil rights issues. Redbook magazine was mentioned as an example of a publication that has printed damaging stereotyped articles. Issues to be raised in letters to Ohio legislators include providing appropriate educational services to help children learn and communicate in the ways that they are best able, improving the enforcement of laws against disability discrimination, determining the actual needs of those who receive adult services based on input from the self-advocate community, and ensuring that autism awareness efforts are realistic and not stigmatizing.

We also discussed making contact with local autism societies and support groups, which could be useful to help us become more well known in the community.

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