Monday, January 27, 2014

School Safety: Avonte Oquendo's Legacy

The Riverview School as seen via satellite from Google Earth.
The name of the school sends shivers down the spine of any parent to an autistic child. The Riverview School, a school for children with special needs, screams danger right there in the title yet the security provided the children of that school was nowhere close to being proportionate to the level of danger provided by its surroundings. A satellite view from Google Earth of The Riverview School. It indicates that those warning bells are justified.

On October 4th 2013, 14 year-old Avonte Oquendo slipped away from his class while on the way to a technology room. He allegedly ran past a security guard, out a side door and was never seen again.

Friday, December 13, 2013

VICTORY! - Comcast/NBCU and ABA Coverage



As many of you know on April 2nd, 2013 I released "An Open Letter to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and NBCU CEO Steve Burke"

In the letter, I pleaded with Mr. Roberts and Mr. Burke as fathers to do the right thing and voluntarily elect meaningful autism benefits (ABA) to our company’s self-funded insurance plan.

I can honestly say that I thought I would be fired.

There were a few things in my favor. My new boss has been a friend since 1995 and I went to him before I released the letter and asked him for his advice before I published it. He was incredibly supportive as were all of my fellow employees.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Mickey Mouse Club-bing




The State of Illinois passed measures to change their policy regarding handicap placards and parking meters.

As it currently stands, if you have a handicap plate you need not feed the meters. You can park at any metered spot and not have to worry about having to return in two hours to feed the meter or looking for specific handicapped parking spots. The city does offer those as well in case people with disabilities have trouble finding parking.

This policy has saved my family immeasurably. We have a disability plate so that we can park close to stores. Bianca, as I have written about, is an eloper. She also LOVES to go to the store. Leaving... not so much. Often times I have had to drag her out in the middle of a meltdown with the other two kids in tow, so being close to the store makes that all a little more manageable.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Dream



Last year I attended the Annual Law Summit presented by Autism Speaks. It was my first time in the nation’s capital. There was one place I knew I had to go while I was there... the Lincoln Memorial.

Not only did I want to go because of what Lincoln had accomplished or because of his ties to my home state. I wanted to stand in the place where the greatest speech on equality was ever given. Not just to honor the work and legacy of Dr. King but to invigorate my own personal battle for equality within our healthcare system and to end clear discrimination that autistic people face when it comes to health insurance coverage. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Spectrum of Similarities




As I read that horrible letter by that horrible person I focused on the words that were written. There were words being used to describe young Max that were vile… disgusting… evil.  Then I started to realize that those words were not being used to describe Max at all. They were venom… nothing more and nothing less.