Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April 2nd Is World Autism Day

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This letter below is from an e-mail update by the Autism Society of America.

Celebrate World Autism Day on Capitol Hill

ASA Press Conference with Congressmen Smith and Doyle April 2
The United Nations has designated April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day. Rep. Chris Smith and Rep. Mike Doyle, congressional autism champions and co-chairs of the Congressional Coalition for Autism Research and Education, will hold a press conference on the Cannon Terrace to commemorate this historic occasion and build support for legislation that would provide needed autism services in the US and around the world.

In light of the awareness raised by World Autism Day, the United States has raised an effort to establish a global autism assistance program. In February 2008, a bi-partisan group of legislators joined Congressmen Doyle and Smith in introducing the Global Autism Assistance Act, (H.R. 5446). This landmark legislation will establish a global health and education grant program related to autism spectrum disorders and provide support to families, educational institutions, clinics and medical centers in developing nations.

The Expanding the Promise of Individuals with Autism Act (H.R. 1881), co-sponsored by Congressmen Mike Doyle, Chris Smith, Eliot Engel, and Chip Pickering, would provide additional resources for those affected by autism in the U.S. This legislation will increase access to effective therapies and essential support services for people with autism, as well as provide critical funding for training, protection, and advocacy.

United Nations Celebrates World Autism Awareness Day this April
ASA President and CEO Grossman to speak at UN panel

In December 2007, the nation of Qatar introduced a resolution to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. The resolution passed and the United Nations’ Department of Public Information and several autism organizations from around the world will celebrate this first World Autism Awareness Day with book signings, press conferences, seminars and briefings in New York the first week of April.

On Thursday, 27 March 2008, the “Autism Acceptance Book, Being a Friend to Someone with Autism” by Ellen Sabin, winner of the Carol D. Reiser Book Award in 2005, will be featured during a “Meet the Author” event at the UN Bookstore. The Head of the Department of Public Information, Under-Secretary-General Akasaka, is expected to host and deliver introductory remarks.

On Wednesday, 2 April 2008, the formal, official United Nations observance will take place between 3-5 p.m. in Conference room 1. A message by the Secretary-General
(away from HQs on that day) will be read by the Head of the Department for Economic and Social Affairs, DESA, Under-Secretary-General Shah. A number of speakers including WHO, Gov. of Qatar, Autism Speaks, a representative from a family with a child with Autism as well as other relevant figures, will participate.
At 5:30 pm, by invitation only, an exhibit of artwork produced by people with Autism, will open in the Secretariat lobby, sponsored by the Chilean Mission. Due to space limitations, no more than 100 guests can be accommodated.

ASA President and CEO Lee Grossman will be participating in a DPI/NGO briefing to celebrate people with Autism. The event is expected to also take place in Conference
Room 1, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on April 3 and will consist of a panel discussion and an interactive session between the speakers, special guests and the audience.

Valerie Paradiz, a member of ASA's panel of people on the spectrum advisors, will also be participating in the event. Other special guests will include schools offering special programs for children with autism, colleges and universities educating future teachers and therapists working with children with autism, residential facilities for young adults living with autism, parents of children with autism, and activists.

Autism Insurance Bill Passes in Arizona
“Steven’s Law” mandates coverage for families affected by autism
On March 21, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano signed into law legislation that
requires insurance companies in the state to provide coverage for autism treatment. A coalition of supporters including the ASA – Greater Phoenix Chapter advocated for the bill’s passage.

The original bill included coverage for occupational, speech, physical and behavioral
therapies. Though, OT, speech and PT therapies are no longer listed in the legislation, the insurers will no longer be permitted to exclude children with autism from receiving these treatments. Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) was listed in the coverage mandate. The law will take effect in July 2009.

For more information, please visit http://www.azautisminsurance.org.

Autism Awareness Rally Planned at Ohio Statehouse
April 2nd event is 5th Annual Rally

The Centers for Disease Control now reports that the incidence of autism in the United States is 1 in 150 children. There are over 10,000 families in Ohio dealing with this urgent public health problem every day. Ohio individuals with autism, advocates, families, and state legislators will gather for the Autism Awareness Rally at the Statehouse in April, which will be declared by Governor Ted Strickland as Autism Awareness Month in Ohio.

Rally participants will be calling for immediate legislative action to respond to this growing health crisis, including passage of HB 170 Health Insurance coverage, a Senate companion bill of HB 170, a Medicaid Waiver and many other issues. The rally will take place on the South Lawn of the Statehouse at 11 a.m. until 12:30 PM on Wednesday, April 2, 2008, which has been declared World Autism Awareness Day by the United Nations

For more information, please visit http://www.autismohio.org or e-mail

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