2021 Advocacy Priorities

Our Advocacy Team works nationwide to achieve this mission by pursuing the following priorities:

Increase global understanding and acceptance of people with autism

Educate legislators and regulators on autism spectrum disorder to ensure policymaking benefits individuals across the spectrum.

Be a catalyst for life enhancing research breakthroughs

Increase funding for autism research at federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration and the U.S. Department of Education.

Increase early childhood screening and timely intervention

Ensure that autistic individuals have access to the healthcare they need, irrespective of whether a private payer or a public payer such as Medicaid pays for their healthcare costs.

Improve the transition to adulthood

Improve the quality and accessibility of employment-focused training systems.

Increase employment opportunities as well as access to high-quality postsecondary education.

Ensure that robust programs, services and supports are available for transition-age youth who do not go on to postsecondary education or employment.

Ensure access to reliable information and services throughout the life span

Enhance support services and assistance that address the unique risks and challenges, including those resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, faced by individuals with autism and their families.

Increase access to home and community-based services (HCBS) and increase HCBS capacity to provide services for people with autism and their families.

Increase availability of ABLE accounts, tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities created by the Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014.

Ensure that staff across multiple settings (such as healthcare and education) have appropriate training for interactions with and care of individuals with autism, particularly related to challenging behaviors, safety, sensory needs, and augmentative and alternative communication.

Expand support for resources and practices that keep our community safe, including Kevin and Avonte’s Law, federal legislation aimed at protecting children with autism or other developmental disabilities who may wander or bolt from safety.

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You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or help@autismspeaks.org.