Message from the Chairman:
When I wrote my year-end message at this time last year, I expressed my concern about the state of politics in our country since the change in administrations after the election of 2016. As the parent of an adult son with autism, I am well aware that so much of the supports and services for individuals with ASD are in part funded by federal monies. Here we are two years post-election and I certainly remain concerned. Even with the upcoming change of power in the House of Representatives, I fear the only thing that will be different will be the leadership. I am concerned we will face the same, if not a greater degree of divisiveness and partisanship in the politics of our government. When will our leaders in government begin to understand that politics is the art of compromise where an end goal…the end goal… should be a willingness to work across the aisle for the greater good? We and they must remember we all have a responsibility to speak for and protect those unable to speak or care for themselves.
I wish I could say that I was unduly pessimistic when I wrote last year’s message – but I can’t. The news from Washington has not been good when it comes to policies affecting people with disabilities. At the same time, there are reasons to feel a bit more optimistic as we end this year. We are fortunate to live in Massachusetts, where the political discourse is reasonable and both the administration and the state legislature take a more positive approach to providing services for our loved ones.
But we also bear a responsibility – to remain vigilant and to strengthen our advocacy on behalf of those we love. Over the years, we have demonstrated that when we speak with a unified voice, we are strong and effective. Our legislative victories – from Autism Insurance to the Autism Omnibus Act – are powerful evidence of how, acting together, we can make a real difference. AFAM members have shown their commitment by writing letters, sending emails, making phone calls, and visiting their legislators to advocate for important legislative priorities – including participation in vigils to press for passage of Nicky’s Law.
This work must go on! We need your help to do that! The success of our advocacy on behalf of those with ASD requires not only dedicated volunteers and committed grass-roots advocates, but funding as well. We are dependent on the generosity of individuals and families – people like you and me — to enable us to continue our vital work.
Please support us! Your contribution of time or dollars, both equally important, are vital to making sure the voices and interests of individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder are considered by those in government.
With best wishes to you and your family a happy and safe holiday season!
Michael J. Borr