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April 22, 2013

Frightened and Angry

When Governor Cuomo recently signed the budget passed by the New York State Legislature, it included a 4.5 percent cut (or $90 million reduction) in funding for people with developmental disabilities.

It frightens me. What am I supposed to do if I lose my services and won't be able to come to YAI anymore? I’ve been with YAI for 14 years.

I'm part of YAI's Self-Advocacy group, and am a member of the newsletter committee. I also go to Premier HealthCare, where I like my doctors.

The other self-advocates and I wrote to state Senators and Assembly member's to stop the Governor's proposed 6 percent cut ($120 million). Many of us also particapted in rallies, urging that full funding be restored. Despite many Legislators from both parties being against the cuts, the budget was approved with a big cut.

I am angry about it. We need our services. I'm afraid something really bad may happen if people lose their supports.  I am afraid they will get thrown under the bus or something really bad. We need our services. I don't want us going back to the days of Willowbrook, where people were institutionalized.

We need to restore the money for individuals with disabilities because some of our services that we get from staff help us grow into better people. So many individuals with disabilities are speaking up about this. State officials should give us our money back.

First article

Tags: Advocacy; Education; Independant Living; Legislation; Person Centered

In my world, every day is Autism Awareness day. I don’t think a day has gone by when I didn’t think, type or say the word. But you can help to give me and my two kids a break from their autism for a day.

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Of course you can’t take away their autism – it is who they are and we all accept it. However, you can help reduce the challenges that make having living with autism in a world designed for “normal” people so stressful. And, it won’t cost you a cent. I just want you to consider ‘the 3 As’: Awareness, Acceptance and making Allowances.

First article

Tags: Advocacy; Autism; Family Support

When my severely autistic son was high school age, the local public school system offered him a placement at the high school. I remember feeling the swell of hope in my throat as I met with the administrators. Nat ... at the high school, one of the best in the country!

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Up until then, Nat had attended private autism programs most of his school career because there were no district-based programs for him. Born in 1989, Nat was at the beginning of the huge autism wave that was to come. His childhood had been very lonely, with few options. I had been swallowing down dreams of inclusion for my firstborn for so many years.

First article

Tags: Autism; Employment; Education; Transition

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