Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Autism Platforms

Look guys, my cute kid with a cat! But enough of that, let's talk about politics!!!  It'll be SO MUCH FUN!  Seriously, you're gonna love it.  I promise. [Insert poor Trump imitation here].

One of the things I like most about Hillary's campaign is that she has an explicit autism platform.  You should read it.  Seriously.  Click the link - I'll wait.

It's not perfect, but, overall it's a huge step forward.  I love it for several reasons.  First, it's obvious that whoever wrote the platform is fully aware that autistic individuals are 1) not just kids; 2) best served in their communities whenever possible; and 3) in need of drastically more services than they currently receive, regardless of their age.

Whether it's improved access to AAC devices for less verbal populations, improved access to housing opportunities for adults, or expanded support for caregivers, the disability advocacy community should feel heard.  I could quibble, but it's by far the best disability rights platform ever put out by a major party candidate, and we should give credit where due.

Bernie has a good background on disability rights and has co-sponsored pretty good, if limited, legislation related autism (some components overlapped with Clinton's plan, above).  He wants to expand access to health care generally, which is good for the disability community.  His candidacy is still a long shot, but I'm not that worried.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, we unsurprisingly have junk science and scare tactics.*

Trump's position on autism, that it's an epidemic and all the scary vaccines are to blame (it's not and they aren't), conveniently allows him to avoid making any plans to help actual autistic people or their families.  Instead, we should all be afraid of needles.  When pressed recently on his plan to help increase employment for autistic adults, Trump said, "We're gonna work on that. You'll be happy, just watch."

Details?  None.

I'm shocked.

Oh, but he does want to turn Medicaid into a block grant program, which will dramatically cut funding for the most important disability insurance program in the country):
Medicaid is typically the only or primary health insurance plan for persons with disabilities who have limited income. Additionally, an increasing number of individuals with disabilities are looking to Medicaid as their primary health insurance plan, notwithstanding higher levels of income. Medicaid may be available to those individuals through state-specific Medicaid waivers, through optional Medicaid buy-in programs, or through the section 1619(b) provisions, all discussed below. A lack of adequate health insurance is often cited as a primary barrier to both the ability to live in the community and the ability to succeed in employment.
Cutting Medicaid is nonsensical, except as a giveaway (and a poor one at that) to private insurance companies.  "[Medicaid] already costs significantly less per beneficiary than private insurance does, because it pays health providers much lower rates and has considerably lower administrative costs." Link

Trump also would repeal the Affordable Care Act, which in most cases mandates insurance coverage of Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy, the only therapy that has proven an effective treatment for autistic kids.

Without proven treatment options, desperate parents often turn to snake oil salesmen and their "experimental" treatments.  These treatments are, at best, ineffective.  At worst, they cause outright harm.

Let's elect the candidate with a plan.

*Vaccines do not cause autism.  Period, end of story.  There's no debate.  This is not an opinion, this is a scientifically demonstrated fact.  If you want a debate, go elsewhere, because your facts are wrong.

Never Trump

The Spectral Zone's photo.

So. . . . guys. Fair warning:  I'm gonna be talking about politics in here for the next few months. Don't worry, I'll keep up the fun autism anecdotes and pictures of my startlingly good looking children, but there will also be a healthy dose of left wing politics. If you don't want to hear it, feel free to hide me from your timeline for a while. I don't have much (okay, any) real influence, but in the spirit of doing what I can, I'll write about political issues when I have time.

Trump cannot, I repeat, CANNOT become president. Somehow the Republicans have managed to dog whistle their way into becoming the type of party where outright racism, homo/transphobia, and xenophobia are actual successful strategies for garnering a majority vote. And that's fine, I suppose (we'll never get rid of all the racists in this country) so long as we don't allow this country to follow that example.

A lot of us have disabled kids or relatives. Take a good look at this picture and tell me how well you think they'll fare with this jackass in charge. This is not who we are. Let's make sure that it isn't who we become.