Tonight's episode is new and will include a story with Max, the character with Asperger's who is the reason I watch the show. He's going camping with his grandfather, which seems like a terrible idea.
According to Michael Ausiello, Richard Dreyfuss is joining the show for a few episodes. I have nothing against the actor, but the storyline sounds awful:
In part because it has gotten support from House Speaker Bill Howell, a mandate that businesses provide insurance coverage for children with autism is like to pass the Virginia General Assembly. Howell's support is based on the experience South Carolina has had with a similar mandate:
Howell said in an interview that this year's bill is "significantly different" than past versions and he supported it because he thought it was a "very reasonable approach." He said he has not been touched by autism personally in his life, but everyone knows families that have been touched by it knows someone who has autism.
"I had gotten the opportunity to know the speaker of the House in South Carolina pretty well and South Carolina did a similar bill although not as tightly draw as this,'' Howell said. "They don't have the age restrictions and they don't have the cap and they're finding that it costs them about 84 cents per insurer per month to accomplish that. They're finding the state funds were not that significant -- under $1 million. So it looked like something we could do to reach the core people that really need the help the most without having an undue burden on businesses."
In response, Ben Marchi of the Virginia Chapter of Americans for Prosperity has attacked Howell for his support, calling an action alert and asking citizens to contact the Speaker's office and their own legislators to oopose the mandate:
Autism is a very personal and emotional thing for families to deal with - but not every tragic situation deserves a new government mandate. Great strides have been made in the past few years towards diagnosing and treating autism early, and we hope that research would continue with private sector support. Unfortunately, some politicians in Richmond have tried to highjack this issue for political gain, while at the same time placing unfair mandates on small businesses and taxpayers. There is little difference in Speaker Howell authoring a bill that gives state government the authority to dictate to private companies what services they must offer and the monstrosity of ObamaCare.
I suggest that the autism community repond with an autism alert of our own:
1. If you live in Virginia, please contact your representatives and ask them to support the mandate. Also contact Speaker Howell's office and thank him for his support.
2. Regardless of where you live, contact Americans for Prosperity at both their national and Virginia offices. Ask that they back down on political rhetoric that suggests people would only support this mandate for bad or selfish reasons. Remind them of the tremendous financial strain that autism puts on families, and ask them to research how well-supported early intervention treatment already is. Tell them we need more than just hope that the private sector will step up in a way they have not yet done. Ask why they they think autism does not deserve a government mandate. Ask them to stop the robocalls and call off the action alert. Ask them to show respect and compassion for peope with autism; encourage this by showing respect when you contact them:
Americans For Prosperity
2111 Wilson Blvd, Ste. 350
Arlington, VA 22201
Toll Free: (866)-730-0150
PO Box 1876
Richmond , VA 23218
Phone: (804) 506-0237
Some like to think autism is “the next evolutionary step.” It’s an appealing upside to the challenges of the condition, or maybe it just makes a good sci-fi story. I don’t think autism is “the next step” if it means we will become a separate species. Neither do I think we are, in fact, aliens.
Instead, I think we’re meant to go forward together. Humanity has always depended on the different, to look ahead. We need neurodiversity. We need symbiosis between NT’s and autistics, with each understanding the other’s perspective. And we who are different must make our voices heard, by being our authentic selves in spite of the obstacles the world throws at us.
Drawing on ideas from Alan Griswald, Matt has created another piece which I think is absolutely essential.
And OWL did something that made me laugh out loud about vomit and ASL.
John Elder Robison records the audio version of Be Different. From his website.
John Elder Robison and Alex Plank of Wrong Planet and Autism Talk TV have put together a fantastic preview for John Elder's new book Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian. It's a photo montage that accompanies the author's reading of the introduction. If you weren't already excited about Be Different, which has had its release date moved up from March 29 to March 22, I think you will be after seeing this video.