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Friday, October 1, 2010

Autism Mobilization

Mike Wasmer, Autism Speaks Kansas Chapter Advocacy Chair and founder of the Kansas Coalition for Autism Legislation (KCAL - writes at Autism Speaks about mobilization:

I am excited about Autism Votes’ recent introduction of the Autism Votes mobile text alert campaign. By texting “AVotes” to 30644, advocates will receive action alerts to support autism-related state and federal legislation directly to their mobile phone. This tool is exactly what we need to mobilize the autism community before the opposition tries to pull a fast one on us.

He explains that, in 2009, autism advocates were not quick enough to answer a counterattack against an insurance reform bill, which fell short by 10 votes. He notes the lessons:

First, Shelley Hendrix is a wise woman, so listen to her when she tells you, “The political process is a roller coaster. So kids, you’d better buckle up and keep your arms and legs inside the car because it’s going to be a crazy ride.” Secondly, there is a huge difference between growing your grassroots and effectively mobilizing your grassroots. Despite all of our calls, e-mails, and social network posts, when we needed a rapid response from the troops, we had to find a way to get the word out quickly and get advocates to take action immediately.

The Kansas bill was eventually signed into law this past April, becoming the 18th state to enact autism insurance reform. However, the new law is limited in its reach and until every person with autism in Kansas has meaningful access to the treatments and therapies they need, our work here is not yet done. With the new Autism Votes mobile text alert program, we will be stronger and quicker for the 2011 legislative session. We will be able to build on the 2010 law and expand coverage to all who need it.