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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Autism and Personal Experience

In The Politics of AutismI discuss the attitudes of public officialsMany who get involved in autism politics have had experience as parents or caregivers.

Antonio Planas at Newsday
An Islip councilman charged with reviving an advisory board for the disabled hopes to lean on his life experiences raising his autistic son to bring change.

"It's an area that I know a lot about and something I would like to share my knowledge, my abilities and my enthusiasm to try and do something positive," said James O'Connor, chairman of the Town of Islip Americans with Disabilities Advisory Board.

O'Connor, whose 22-year-old son was diagnosed with autism at age 2, was named as the advisory board's chairman on Aug. 21 by Supervisor Angie Carpenter. The councilman spoke recently from his town hall office, which proudly displays his son Matthew's artwork.

"The supervisor of the board, when I was first elected, understood I had a child with a disability," said O'Connor, who began his first term in January. "She asked me if I would be willing to take on the assignment. ... We can serve as a vigilant reminder to the town that there is a disabled community here in the town of Islip and we need to take their