WOW we are finally catching up with the times hopefully; Tennessee now has an Autism Plan!! I emailed the TN Autism plan to request information (what can I do in my area) and to be put on the mailing list as new updates are released. Great I am thinking FINALLY, something will get done to increase awareness, educate the public, insurance reform (we are one of the few states that still need insurance reform for autism therapies).
I go the Mid-South Autism Conference this week, and guess who has a booth in the exhibition hall, the Tennessee Autism Plan. So I approach the table and introduce myself, the gentleman at the table introduces himself, so I remind him that I emailed them a couple of weeks ago & he remembered my email and seemed happy that I had contacted him. He was very friendly & seemed genuinely concerned about what I was saying. So just in conversation I ask how long have you been in this position, he tells me since March. So the next question I have is of course, what is your connection to autism? he said that he really did not know much about autism, but he was learning. WHAT you’re kidding me right!! WRONG he was not kidding. For the past five years he has worked for one of our Memphis Representatives as a legislative assistant.
I guess I am still in AWE that our state would put someone in a position that knows nothing about the disorder they are representing. Now Tennessee also voted last year to give Autism Awareness a “day”, AWESOME right, NO ONE will tell us what day!!!
I guess parents of children with autism in the great state of Tennessee will continue on the same path we have been on, a lonely road with very few resources at our disposal, lack of support systems in place for our kids, and a need for more awareness, education and understanding. Come on Tennessee let’s get on the game and help these individuals and their loved ones with autism succeed in life!!