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posted: 12/9/2013 5:00 AM

Autism Speaks is recruiting advocates

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During my first visit ever to Capitol Hill recently, I talked with members of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and Rep. Tammy Duckworth's offices, about helping children and adults with autism back in the state and especially back home in the 8th District.

The reason for the visit was to join others in telling political leaders that families with children and adults with autism need an immediate plan of action on autism from the federal and state governments. That has been true for many years in Illinois, which ranks near the bottom of states providing education and services for people with autism and other developmental disabilities.

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The visits proved that we need more autism advocates calling on federal and state legislators in Illinois.

With that in mind, Autism Speaks is looking for advocates in congressional districts to at first call on Congressmen and women to advocate for federal legislation that is important to families with children and adults on the autism spectrum and Autism Speaks.

Then, they eventually will call on state legislators to promote and advocate state based initiatives in the future. Autism advocates would be also be in charge of grass-roots development of improving autism awareness and support to help improve education and services for people with autism, by their efforts in getting involved in the community.

We are presently looking for advocates to be part of our Autism Congress for all of the Chicago area, suburban and Downstate legislative districts. If you are interested, have experience with working in your community, have talked with your legislative representatives in the past or want to in the future and have a connection with autism -- email me at mbaker721@comcast.net.

Mike Baker

Autism Speaks

Schaumburg

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