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New Mexico: Educating legislators about autism and the need for more support

Jan 16, 2024, Rio Rancho Observer: State Legislators To Join Postcard-Signing Event To Rouse Support For Autism Legislation

Several state legislators, including Reps. Joshua Hernandez, Kathleen Cates, Liz Thompson and Sen. Linda Lopez, will join the Garza-owned McDonald’s and Elevate the Spectrum to host a postcard signing-event Jan. 20 in an effort to impact change for those with autism. The public is invited to participate….

Pre-filled postcards will be made available where the public need only add their address. Volunteers will then send the postcards to the appropriate legislators. The Garza-owned McDonald’s will be issuing “Be Our Guest cards” to anyone who fills out a postcard, providing a complimentary food item at a next visit.

“Considering that 1 in 36 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in the U.S, most New Mexicans know someone who struggles with the challenges ASD presents,” said McDonald’s owner/operator Clemy Garza, whose son has autism. “We need more funding at the state level for programs that support families and add more providers to evaluate and provide services for those with autism.”…

…The postcards focus on matters that directly affect New Mexico’s autistic community, including:

Improving restraint and seclusion laws. Currently, students with disabilities such as autism account for 75% of those who are physically restrained at school.

Increasing pay for autism service providers. Pay typically starts at $13, which is only a few dollars above minimum wage. The request will be for $19 per hour, commensurate with the qualifications needed to fulfill the specialized positions.

Fully funding a Special Ed Ombud office, adding as many as four full-time FTE’s.

Funding programs to cut wait times for autism evaluations for children and adults. Current wait times are often as long as one to two years.

Increasing services and quality of care for respite, group homes for adults and teens and residential treatment centers. Since most people with autism are on Medicaid, this impacts those who are able to receive services.

“These events are a great way to educate elected officials and to meet other families with similar concerns related to autism,” said Joel A. Davis, vice president of Elevate the Spectrum, Inc. “Thanks to Clemy and the Garza McDonald’s for helping us elevate issues like special education, improvements, workforce training program and adding more developmental disability services to benefit those with autism.”

A few days prior to the event, both the House and Senate will proclaim Jan. 17 as “Autism Awareness Day” at the Capitol. Additional postcards will be made available at that time to the public. Several tables will be set up at the rotunda for those who want to fill out postcards and moved to room #326.

1 Comment

More like one in two, or 50% of the U.S. population might have 'neurodiversity' now, especially Gen Z and Gen Alpha. "1 in 36" is an intentional, massive under-count done on purpose. Regressive, severe ASD with comorbid I.D. and obesity/severe G.I. problems by aluminum and antibiotics (all which I had growing up, born in early 2000's, long before 2003) is NOT mild, quirky 'Attorney Woo' Aspergers/HFA. ASD romanticism K-Dramas alone give me an intense dislike of Korean dramas, hopefully not against Koreans/Korea itself. Many Koreans live in severe poverty. Trainwreck dramas are highly profitable, and the communist Neurodiversity movement shuts down and censors anything, and everything, that does not sugarcoat 'neurodivergence' or portray it in a manner of toxic positivity…

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