On September 23, 2017, Congressman Mike Gallagher (WI-8) hosted "Autism Across the Spectrum" in Appleton, Wisconsin. The event brought together politicians, parents, providers and autism organizations with the purpose of spreading awareness and support to the autism community. Through a resource fair coordinated by the Autism Society of Wisconsin, an expert panel discussion, and keynote address by Judith Ursitti, Autism Speaks Director of State Government Relations, attendees were advised on how to effectively advocate on the local, state and federal level to continue to bring about meaningful change for the autism community.
This collaborative event was the result of a personal meeting between Congressman Gallagher, Shannon Knall, and fellow parents of kids with autism during Autism Awareness Month in April. Shannon Knall, the key event organizer, also serves as an Autism Speaks Volunteer Advocacy Ambassador. Inspired by her son, Shannon serves as a liaison for Autism Speaks, federal legislators, and her local community. The Advocacy Ambassador program began in July 2017 and continues to grow with advocates from across the country representing the Autism Speaks community as liaisons to their members of Congress. To join or learn more about this growing cohort of Autism Speaks Advocacy Ambassadors, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured: Congressman Mike Gallagher (WI-8); Harriet Redman, Executive Director of Wisconsibs; Dr. Jacqueline Borthwick, clinical psychologist; State Senator Roger Roth of the 19th Senate District; Shannon Knall, Autism Speaks Wisconsin Policy Chair and Special Education Advocate; Jackson Schipper, Student at Appleton North High School with autism.