Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Monday, December 29, 2008

End of Year Action Items

Here are two opportunities for the autistic community to make its voice heard before the end of the year. Change.org is inviting people to vote on ideas for change, with the top results to be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day and advanced in Congress thereafter. The competition ends on Wednesday, December 31st. Unfortunately, there are some icky autism proposals that are full of devastation rhetoric. By voting for other ideas, we can make it less likely that one of them will be selected. It is necessary to sign up as a member of Change.org to vote; please consider doing this if you have the time. These three proposals would be helpful to the autistic community and have a reasonable chance of getting into the next round if they can get some more votes:

Fully Fund Medicaid Waivers for the Developmentally Disabled
Replace No Child Left Behind With a Strong Education Policy
Independence and Services for Disabilities and Autism

Also, the Obama Transition Team's outreach efforts include a virtual health care policy discussion to be completed by Wednesday. Details below:

Attendees of the AS Community Health Care Discussion this past Saturday in Staten Island, NY unanimously agreed to extend the opportunity to participate to the virtual domain.

Participation will require about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Participants will be asked to read a five page pdf Participant Guide provided by the Presidential Transition Team. A set of 7 open-ended questions and 3 multiple choice questions need to be answered. In answering the open-ended questions, place an emphasis on health care issues related to AS. Answers to the questions will be used to prepare a report to be reviewed by Senator Tom Daschle and the Presidential Transition Team.

Participants will be encouraged to have a brief telephone conversation with Doug Hanway, the discussion moderator. The purpose of this conversation will be to integrate each individual's ideas and stories with those of the other participants. The role of the moderator is to listen, facilitate discussion, and answer any questions on the process. The moderator is not there to tell the attendees what to do or offer suggestions. The goal of the process is to respect, empower, and include every participant. The Presidential Transition Team has explicitly requested that the discussions are not occasions for "experts" to listen to "everyday people" and then decide what is best. They are an opportunity for attendees to come together to diagnose the health care problems facing their community and propose solutions.

The final submission needs to be sent to the Transition Team by the end of Wednesday, December 31. Therefore, participants need to complete their input and talk to Doug Hanway by noon on the 31st. The Presidential Transition Team has explicitly requested to strive to incorporate everyone's concerns and opinions in the discussion and submission. Each attendee's views matter – whatever their background, beliefs, or previous political involvement. Even when there is disagreement, we strive to find common ground.

To participate, email Doug Hanway at dhanway75@hotmail.com Doug will send you the Participant Guide pdf. From there, study the pdf and answer the questions. You will also be given a few open ended questions on AS and health care which you may choose to answer. Then set up a time to chat with Doug before noon on Wednesday. He will provide you his contact number in the email. If it is not possible for you to participate by phone, an email chat can be arranged.

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