This blog post is by Nathan Young, self-advocate and founder of Autism Candles.
I have a dream to work and be part of things. My day program is for inclusion, working, and taking care of myself through activities such as grocery shopping and other life necessities. Yet most of my time is doing what I love and that is working. Life without working is to me very boring because it's my interest.
I do not know why but federal funded programs conflict with one another.
Congress proclaims they will remove barriers that get in the way of self-sufficiency, community inclusion and of course working. That's what the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) in spirit is all about. I make candles and so along with other people on the autism spectrum. It was all over the newspapers, televsion, and radio for a time. People support my working along with others that make candles at my parents' house where I used to live. Why though cannot my working pay for a garage space where I live to accommodate for my passion in life to work?
The federal government's HUD agency won't allow me and tells me they do not have to comply with self-sufficiency. My supports and I tried to find a place in the allowed price range but they are very hard to find and one had a garage with a dirt floor and the other without electrical. My parents and social services moved me to the one without electric in its garage, but the first night the walls made noises and there were rats. I moved six months later but my parents had to pay for it.
I do not want to live in boxes of supplies and have a kitchen full of candle making supplies. The government spends a lot of money for me to pour candles at my parents' house and the same would be true if I could afford a special building just for it. Why are they so indifferent when the federal government itself granted me and others money through the Social Security Administrations PASS program to make candles and other things from our homes? Why does the state and federal government pay for job supports if they won't allow me to become more independent like self-determination policy prescribes?
My Congressman's office says I need the support of others to have new legislation passed. The American dream for people with autism and developmental disabilities is very important. Working from home is one of the most flexible and accommodating potentials available to these individuals. Government agencies need to coordinate better as self-determination policies are on the rise and can create the conditions for the American dream with reasonable policy revisions for individuals with substantial disabilities. When agencies conflict with each other's goals, they waste lots of money investing into potentials and in my case years of passionate time spent doing what I though was Patriotic which was to become more independent and determined.
I believe simple change is possible if you support this revision in government policy. People from around the country are signing, sharing the letter with their friends on social media and voicing their support. Can you also share this on your Twitter and Facebook? Please allow myself and others to live a life of more possibilities and please enable more of the day dreams to become reality. That is how it all began for me.