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Calls to Action

Grassroots Push Yields Two More Caucus Members

November 18, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC (November 18, 2013) -- Two additional members of Congress have signed on to the Congressional Autism Caucus -- one in response to a child with autism, the other in response to a team of Autism Speaks volunteers pressing the needs of military families.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), who represents Maryland's Eastern Shore, joined the Caucus after reading a letter from Aidan Gaiser, a child with autism. Aidan's mother, Diana, hand delivered the letter to Harris [left] during last week's Autism Speaks to Washington national summit. 

Aidan's letter reads:

Dear Congressm(a)n Harris:

I live in Carroll County. I have some friends who have autism. My brother Colin has autism and doesn't talk, and I have a little autism and a smart brain. There are many ways to help autism.

Here are some ways to help autism: OT, PT, SLP, ABA. Home program on weekends. Social groups. Sports. Go to a doctor if you can't sleep, focus or your belly hurts. Have President Obama build a center for autism to help children with autism. There will be a different number of autism centers in each state depending on its population.

You can call my mom or email my mom....I will help you with the blueprints.

Sincerely,

Aidan Gaiser

Also during the summit, autism advocate Nora Fitzpatrick led a team of parents who met with Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) on Capitol Hill to discuss the challenges faced by military families raising children with autism. The advocates noted that the Senate this week will take up the FY14 National Defense Authorization Act, which includes an amendment sponsored by Senators Patty Murray and Kirsten Gillibrand that would expand TRICARE coverage for applied behavior analysis for military kids with autism or other developmental disabilities.

Fitzpatrick co-chairs the Washington DC Walk Now for Autism Speaks.