Washington, D.C. (July 15, 2010) Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA), a consortium of leading autism advocacy organizations and service providers, today unveiled a National Public Policy Agenda with the goal of inspiring legislative action to meet the increasing and unmet demand for effective services for adolescents and adults with the disorder. The National Policy Agenda was announced at a Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C. that brought together federal legislators, national policymakers and advocates for adults with autism including individuals who have autism to discuss priorities for action in the public and private sectors.
The AFAA National Public Policy Agenda focuses on three areas of priority: providing access to services and supports to develop important life skills; providing access to skilled direct care personnel; and providing access to and choice within the funding of services. Among other actions, the AFAA is calling for the expansion of appropriate housing opportunities, greater vocational supports, more training for service providers and portable, individualized funding streams for services.
We are advocating for meaningful change that will empower adults with autism to lead independent and productive lives, said Peter Bell, AFAA co-chair and executive vice president of Autism Speaks. It is going to require persistence by the autism community and real leadership from our elected officials and influencers in the private sector to turn these policy priorities into meaningful action. We are not asking for a hand-out, but rather for the creation or expansion of programs that will maximize the potential of the growing number of people with autism and minimize, in the long run, the cost to society.
The AFAA Congressional briefing which featured remarks by honorary co-chairs Senator Robert Menendez (NJ) and Congressman Mike Doyle (PA) -- was the latest step in an ongoing effort to identify key policy priorities to advocate for the needs of adults with autism to address critical challenges. An initial AFAA Think Tank in January 2009 was followed last November by a National Town Hall Meeting, which included almost 1,200 participants in sixteen locations across the country.
For more information about the AFAA and to view the full National Public Policy Agenda, visit www.afaa-us.org.