Cathy Pratt, Board Chair of the Autism Society, Director of the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at the Indiana Institute and CIP Advisory Board member recently attended a meeting hosted by the White House to discuss the Obama Administration’s efforts on autism research and to express support of families and individuals affected by autism.
The meeting took place April 2, in conjunction with World Autism Awareness Day and National Autism Awareness Month, and included representatives of other national advocacy organizations and service agencies.
Pratt thanked the administration for its investment in research through federal stimulus funds, and asked government officials to address the crisis needs of families with autism, including respite care, employment, navigation of service systems and training of professionals.
Melody Barnes, Director of President Barack Obama’s Domestic Policy Council, opened the meeting, expressing the administration’s commitment to serving autism through collaboration on research and programs across all agencies. Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, and Jeff Crowley, Senior Adviser on Disability Policy, discussed the commitment of the administration to the special and complex needs of people with disabilities as part of the implementation of the recently passed health care reform legislation.
Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Services, discussed his agency’s “Healthy People Response” effort, which aims to gain greater understanding of cause and treatments of autism but also create better systems of care to address the fact that “families have difficulty navigating the non-systems we have” to address autism.
Also in attendance were Dr. Peter Van Dyck, Associate Administrator for Maternal and Child Health, and Dr. Thomas R. Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health.