Thursday, October 27, 2016

Throwback Thursday - 1 in 100 - Autism Votes


I originally posted this on November 8, 2011, which was election day. I ask myself:  has anything changed for the better now that more of the wave of babies born with autism enter adulthood?

My brother in law, who is in his 50's, and has autism, will vote this November.  He also voted in the New York presidential primary in April.  He made his mind up from watching the TV news shows he watched.

It may be easier for people with developmental disabilities to vote.  At a recent review at a program where my brother in law attends, they asked if he was registered to vote, and he even volunteered who he was going to vote for.

It's amazing that he never voted until 2004.

I repeat this post in honor of my brother in law.  And please, if you are in the United States, vote on November 8.  I'll blog about this more later this week.

1 in 100 - Autism Votes

A Facebook post by a Facebook friend of mine, a woman who has an adult son with autism, inspired this post.

The day I first posted this was election day in the United States, where I live.

Her son is voting for the first time today.  Although she is his legal guardian, her son retains his right to vote.  She told her Facebook friends that her son has looked forward to exercising his vote for years.  This is a big day for him.

It's also a big day for our country for another reason.

Her son is on the leading edge of a wave of soon to be adults with autism.  Some say 1 in 100 live births in this country result in an individual with autism.  Not too long ago it was 1 in 166. Then it was 1 in 150.  Let's assume for the sake of argument that the 1 in 100 figure is accurate.  Let's step back a moment and see what that means.

Those babies are going to grow up.  In fact, the "leading edge" of the autism epidemic I just mentioned are now legal adults in many states, including New York (age of 18).  Just wait until all those adults with autism, who have been given the tools and supports to vote, start to exercise that right. 

And,  it is never too late.

My brother in law, who has autism, is in his 50's. He voted for the first time in the 2004 Presidential election.  Growing up, he was never encouraged to vote nor were people like him ever expected to vote.  This just didn't happen.  They weren't "normal".  So their voices, and opinions, were unheard.

In 2004, a person who worked with him in a support role decided that my brother in law should exercise his right to vote.  He watches a news station that carries a lot of political discussions and has formed very definite political opinions.  Why shouldn't he vote?  She worked with him, he did vote, and he was very proud of voting for the presidential candidate of his choice.

For the first time, his voice was heard.

It is not easy for a person with autism to vote, as described here, but it can be done with proper education and proper support.  This issue isn't restricted to the United States, either.

It's a new day, and soon, the politicians will feel the power of that new voting block.  It will be interesting to hear what these new adults with autism have to say in the voting booth.

Day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for brining this to light! It's important that people with all forms of disability understand that they have a right to vote. That their voice needs to be heard. Because these changes will effect them.

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  2. First of all- it's about time. I think the voter registration system is probably a little too overwhelming for them (it is for almost everyone else), which means we need to find a way to make it simpler, easier, and less confusing. But, voting? Why should they not have a right to vote? We let folks who never went to school at vote, folks that can't read English vote... I'm willing to bet (based upon limited data from my working with folks with less-than-fully-able bodies and minds) that these folks are more interested in things that affect them, even if they can't fully articulate those thoughts for us.
    Power to the people.

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  3. This is thought provoking. As an autism grandparent, I wonder how my grandchild will navigate life's various challenges, this is one more issue to consider.

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  4. Thank you for this. I definitely learned something.

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  5. I don't see why not. If they've done their homework and are informed, they probably make a better considered vote than many of us do. (Oh, and woe to those who would consider them not worthy of their attention...)

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  6. It is so nice that people with autism are also getting a chance to have their say. This is definitely something positive and it is even more wonderful because each and everyone should have a say in their country's future.

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  7. Proper guide, proper education is important for people with Autism, and they can do wonders

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  8. This isn't something I've thought about but of course it's so important.

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  9. This is so nice that it's happening more now, with the autistic kids growing up into adults. I feel this is a good thing. Voting for who becomes President of the United States is a big thing. Bravo!

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