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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Reactions to Hillary Clinton's Autism Statement

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the issue's role in presidential campaigns.  As I explain in the book, Hillary Clinton has a long history with the issue, and has issued an autism policy statement for the 2016 campaign.

Emily Willingham at Forbes:
Clinton’s new plan doesn’t characterize autism with words like “cure,” “epidemic,” “disease,” “crisis” or “suffer.” She even uses “disorder” only once, in giving the official name of the condition, and never mentions “cause.” The first section covers screening and awareness but emphasizes capturing underserved, underdiagnosed populations such as African American and Latino children and even mentions a need to better capture women and girls who are autistic. I’ve never seen a candidate do that before, and it shows that someone on Clinton’s staff did some serious homework on this one.
Eric Garcia at Roll Call:
On Tuesday, the former secretary of State’s campaign rolled out a plan to support those on the autism spectrum, and held a conference call with Dr. Fred Volkmar, director of the Yale University Child Study Center; Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.; and Ari Ne’eman, president and co-founder of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network.
Karen Fessel, founder and executive director of the Autism Health Insurance Project, who has a son on the spectrum, was optimistic about the proposal, despite some gaps. “I hope she can do half of it,” she said. “A lot of it’s already on the books. The programs are underfunded or there’s no enforcement, so there’s no penalty for following the law.”
Ne’eman said on the conference call that while as a non-profit his organization does not make endorsements, he was happy Clinton approached his team and consulted with people on the spectrum.
“The fact it was requested and the fact many of these priorities come directly from the community is extremely significant,” Ne’eman said.
Sara Luterman at The Guardian:
Donald Trump’s offhand and ill-informed comments about the supposed link between childhood vaccination and autism are even more obscene in the light of how well Clinton, or at least Clinton’s advisers, understand the issues. She is even far surpassing Bernie Sanders in this area – he hasn’t said a word about an autism platform. If he releases his own autism plan, I will reconsider my position.
Shannon Des Roches Rosa at Thinking Person's Guide to Autism:
Hilary Clinton's campaign published an autism plan yesterday. It's like nothing I've ever seen in an autism-centric policy statement, in a good way. It's not perfect, because this is politics, and politics are more about compromise and incremental gains than revolutionary change. But throughout the statement, autistic people are treated as human beings with legitimate and sorely unmet needs, and not the usual (infuriating-to-read) millstones, pity magnets, or financial black holes that are tearing the fabric of families, not to mention our nation's budget, apart. Human beings who deserve to be prioritized. That's welcome progress, and I would like to see such outlooks become our country's policy reality.
Ron Fournier at National Journal:
Clin­ton did not say how she would pay for her plan. Nor is it clear, giv­en the po­lar­iz­ing nature of her can­did­acy, wheth­er the former sec­ret­ary of State could rally Con­gress be­hind such an am­bi­tious agenda.
But let’s give her cred­it: The Demo­crat­ic front-run­ner has done the aut­ist­ic com­munity a world of good by be­ing the first pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate to el­ev­ate the is­sue. Oth­ers should soon fol­low.