This article was created with the help of Kevin Schneider.
Sometimes, when you are amidst the details of balancing your life that is touched by autism, it is easy to think that no one with any changing power is reaching out to the autism community. So, with that in mind, ICare4Autism reached out to group of politicians and asked them exactly why they think about autism. What we learned is that every one of these politicians cares for the autism community and really had a lot to tell us.
Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President
“The number of children diagnosed with autism—a developmental disability that knows no racial, ethnic or social boundaries—continues to rise, and so it’s more important than ever that we support dedicated advocacy and healthcare organizations such as ‘Icare4austim’ whose noble actions here in Brooklyn and beyond greatly enhance the quality of health services available to our young people and their families.”
Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) State Senator
“Thousands of New York families are being pushed toward bankruptcy because of the cost of providing autism treatment for their children, “We know that early intervention is the best way to ensure a child’s long term success. We’ve come a long way in developing effective treatments to help children living with autism lead healthier, more successful lives, but insurance companies are often refusing to pay for it. Families simply can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars each month to give their child the care they need. My three-point plan will make quality care affordable for families with private insurance and military families, and will invest millions in new research that will benefit the lives of millions.”
——-Harry Franco, Mayor of Deal, New Jersey——-
“I think that we need to focus on research and to what causes this horrible disorder. I think we need to find ways to prevent, and hopefully, find a cure. We need to make the public aware of autism and its effects, and how a family handles this horrible situation, when they have someone who has autism. We have organizations within our communities that support and contribute to the autism cause.”
——-Ed Koch, Mayor of the City of New York, 1978-1989——-
“With Autism affecting so many children, it is essential that we know what causes it and how to prevent it. That requires government funding, and it should be given a priority, even in these difficult financial times.”
——-Moshe Feiglin, Founder/ President of Manhigut Yehudit – Israel——-
“In an authentically Jewish State, society’s approach to the weak or handicapped must derive from the Jewish principle of loving kindness and with the deep understanding the every person was created in G-d’s image. “Man is beloved because he was created in (G-d’s) image,” our Sages say, echoing G-d’s words in Creation: “We will make a man in Our image and after Our likeness.” As such, the Jewish approach to a person with special needs is not ordinary kindness – after all, we must be kind to animals, as well. Kindness toward the special-needs person in our society must be based on honor and even awe. The autistic person or any special-needs person, is first and foremost an individual created in G-d’s image. A person who has fear of Heaven sees G-d’s image in the handicapped as much as in the person who is not defined as “special-needs”.
——-Danny Danon, Member of Knesset (Israel) – Deputy Knesset Speaker——-
“In 2009, I learned about a group home for autistic children in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona that was about to close. The Ministry of Health had outsourced the management of the home to private medical insurance providers who in turn had allocated the home’s budget without taking into account the number of residents. Within a short amount of time the home could no longer sustain its day to day operation. Once this was brought to my attention, I immediately convened my Knesset committee – the Committee on the Rights of the Child – and we brought together local political leaders, representatives from the Ministry of Health as well as community activists to address this important issue.I saw this as a part of a larger problem of under budgeting of important services to communities in Israel’s periphery (mostly in the North and South of the country). The Committee demanded action from the Ministry of Health within fourteen days to rectify this injustice. Thankfully we were successful in pushing through a change of policy and at the same time, thanks to press reports about our Knesset meeting, an Israeli philanthropist also pledged to assist the home. Today the home in Kiryat Shmona is fully operational and this is an accomplishment in which we can take great pride and fill us with a great sense of hope for the future.”