TWENTY THREE states have passed insurance legislation helping the families of their state get appropriate insurance coverage for their loved one with autism. Those families are now able to access the treatment and therapy they need! Sadly, Nebraska is not one of those 23 states.
But there is a movement here in Nebraska taking foot to get a bill introduced to help our families. Historically, these legislative changes do not occur over night and it may take a few attempts to get it done. But the one thing that we have learned from watching the other 23 states pass their insurance laws is that there must be a large grassroots movement behind the effort. Senators don’t want to hear from businesses or lobbyists. They want to hear from the voters in their district…the ones who put them in office! And that is YOU!
A GREAT opportunity lies ahead of us to start being noticed by the legislative body here in Nebraska.
Every year (for 40 years) the ARC of Nebraska has hosted a Senatorial Dinner in Lincoln. They typically have a great turnout from the Senators who are all in session in Lincoln during the event. This is an amazing opportunity for us to come out as a community and meet with our senators. This event is designed as a way for families with developmental disabilities to meet with their senators and share their personal experiences.
We recommend you call your Senator and encourage him/her to attend. Don’t know who your senator is? Visit http://nebraskalegislature.gov/senators/senator_find.php for an interactive map to find out.
Don’t be overwhelmed. Make it a short and simple phone call and let them know that you will be attending the Arc’s 40th Annual Senatorial dinner and were hoping that you might be able to meet with him/her at the dinner and briefly introduce yourself.
Don’t stress yourself out about needing to educate that senator about autism or your families plight. What we really need is for him/her to know that your family exists, that you live in his district and that you have some added challenges to your life due to your loved one’s diagnosis of autism. We want a friendly exchange with no real demands. We want them to realize that we are out here. Imagine the impact it would have for a senator to receive a call from 5 or 6 or 10 of his citizens sharing this similar story!
As a senator they hear from everyone what is wrong in this world and that they aren’t doing enough to help us. We strongly encourage you to remind yourself that they really do want to help (otherwise they wouldn’t be in public office) but perhaps just didn’t realize our plight. So please let them know that you appreciate all that they do and then maybe share a couple of your stories. Try not to make any demands of them. We don’t want to overwhelm them on multiple fronts. Just show them that you exist and that you (just like every other parent out there) want what is best for your family.
We will be gathering the community in the upcoming months to build on this grassroots connection and there will be a time for us to explain exactly what the autism community needs. But right now, let’s focus on building some relationships and letting them know we are out here.
Please consider attending this dinner! You can download a registration flyer HERE. The dinner is the evening of February 8th in Lincoln. There is a cost but it will be such a great investment! The RSVP deadline is February 1st!