Group Warns of Escalating Health and Safety Crisis in I/DD Community
Releases Video to Increase Awareness
Calls to End One-Size-Fits-All Policy Solutions
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Together for Choice, a national advocacy organization formed to protect and advance the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), today announced the ACT NOW for Severe Autism Campaign with a consortium of partners, including the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA), concerned parents and other advocates. The campaign seeks to shine light on the growing health and safety crisis involving individuals with severe autism and change policies that deprive them of the services they need.
“For too long, individuals with severe autism have remained in the shadows and all too-often forgotten in policy discussions,” said Ashley Kim Weiss, National Coordinator of Together for Choice. “Most of the attention and resources have been devoted to integrating high functioning members of the I/DD community into society, which we agree is important. Equally important, however, are the most vulnerable individuals with severe disabilities who can never fully integrate and are in desperate need of customized care and support to live healthy and productive lives.
The group promoted a video, which first debuted at the RCPA Conference held in Pennsylvania last week. A parent of a severely autistic child self-financed and produced the video to combat the increasing claims of the highly vocal and publicly visible advocates of the neuro diversity community, that severe autism does not exist. Or worse yet, that the needs of those individuals with severe autism are no different than the needs of any other individual diagnosed with autism.
The video can be found at: https://youtu.be/xwvKYE5C2Ys
“While the video is at times uncomfortable to watch, it is critical that the public see the realities that these individuals and families face on a daily basis,” said Richard S. Edley, President and CEO of RCPA. “We need more resources and more flexible policy solutions to address this growing crisis. One-size-fits-all solutions must end. We must recognize that one-size does not fit everyone. People will always be left out – and sadly, it is often the most vulnerable who are forgotten.”
The group also launched a website at www.ACTNOWFORSEVEREAUTISM.com which houses the video and contains a petition to end these policies as well as more information about how the public can get involved and advocate for change in policies that discriminate against individuals with severe autism and their families.
About Together for Choice
Together for Choice (TFC) is a non-profit organization with a mission to unite to protect and advance the rights of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to live, work and thrive in a community or setting of their choice. Please visit www.togetherforchoice.org for more information.
About the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association:
With well over 350 members, the majority of who serve over 1 million Pennsylvanians annually, Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA) is among the largest and most diverse state health and human services trade associations in the nation. RCPA advocates for those in need, works to advance effective state and federal public policies, serves as a forum for the exchange of information and experience, and provides professional support to members. RCPA provider members offer mental health, drug and alcohol, intellectual and developmental disabilities, children’s, brain injury, medical rehabilitation, and physical disabilities and aging services, through all settings and levels of care. Visit www.paproviders.org for more information.
Contact for TFC
Ashley Kim Weiss
Together for Choice
Contact for RCPA
Richard S. Edley, PhD
President and CEO
Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association (RCPA)