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posted: 6/16/2014 5:01 AM

Disabled need state legislators to wake up

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This letter is to the Illinois legislators in the Northwest and Northern suburbs of both parties who have been more concerned during the last budget session in Springfield with politics, than protecting families with developmental disabilities and the state's developmental disability budget.

Here are statistics that -- regardless of the economy and who is in charge -- will be impossible to avoid forever.

1. An estimated 220,000 people in Illinois have developmental disabilities.

2. An estimated 100,000-130,000 people in Illinois have autism.

3. Fewer than 35,000 of these people are being served by the state -- that's only 16 percent. That puts Illinois between 47th and 51st in the entire nation.

4. Fewer than 22,000 people are on the state's PUNS waiting list, which is only 15 percent of the total number of people with developmental disabilities who are eligible to be on the list.

There are an estimated 163,000 people the state does not even know about.

These numbers will only continue to grow, and these people will need some form of state service in their lifetime, because parents like myself will not be around forever.

That is an unavoidable fact, which is not dependent on party affiliation, from a father of a 15-year-old teenager with autism. We will continue to fight hard to find legislators in Springfield who will make his future and others like him a priority.

With what is going on down there, they are hard to find on either sides of the aisle.

Mike Baker

Autism Speaks


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