Legislative and Community Advocacy
The Autism Society of Florida advocates for and contributes to crafting legislation to protect, empower and improve the quality of life for people with autism in all aspects of life.
We forge relationships with legislators as well as people in our communities to educate, inform and create awareness about the needs of individuals with autism in Florida. We are committed to helping people advocate for their children and teaching self advocacy skills to adults on the autism spectrum.
If you share our passion, have skills to offer and are interested in volunteering to help advocate on a more global scale, contact us and put those skills to work. Let's work together to create a better more inclusive world for everyone.
CONTACT US AT: INFO@AUTISMFL.ORG
CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS
It's important to contact you legislators and let them know where you stand on the issues.
They need to hear personal stories to inform and influence them. If no one calls them, then it's as if they're not needed and all is well with special education.
We need CAMERAS in classrooms TODAY.
Sadly, kids with autism are found in the news more and more, and not for good reasons. Within 2 weeks, there were two children in two different schools who were abused by their teachers.
This is a tragic story about a 7 year old boy with autism who was tied to a chair at his public school in Manatee County. The teacher and para took turns sitting on the chair to keep him from moving. The only reason we even know about this is because there was a CAMERA on the playground. There is no expectation that this child was treated any differently (or worse) behind the closed door of his classroom. Who knows how long this type of abuse occurred? Our question is: Why do we not have cameras in the classrooms of our most vulnerable children?
In this incident, a behavior support teacher at Eisenhower Exceptional Center in Hillsborough County was observed punching a 9-year-old non-verbal student and was subsequently fired. Eisenhower is a center school that is supposed to have all the extra support for students who need it. How is a parent to trust the education system without knowing that cameras are in place should they have concerns about the safety of their child?
New Law Effective January 1, 2024
Contact your local law enforcement agency to see if they have a registration program - if you feel it's right for you.
The "“Protect Our Loved Ones” Act, authorizes a local law enforcement agency to develop and maintain a database, known as a “Persons with Disabilities Registry,” of persons who may have certain developmental, psychological, or other disabilities or conditions, including but not limited to, autism spectrum disorder.... that may be relevant to interactions with law enforcement."
"The bill authorizes local law enforcement agencies to provide information from the registry to law enforcement officers to assist in performance of their official duties.
The information provided to law enforcement officers under the bill may assist officers in their official duties by preparing them to respectfully and appropriately interact with an individual enrolled in the registry who has a relevant disability or condition."
If you are interested in being included in this database, contact your local law enforcement agency to find out if they plan to have one. No one will be included who does not request to be included.
Bills to Watch 2024
Autism Spectrum Disorder Training for Law Enforcement Officers
This bill would REQUIRE officers to be trained in serving and protecting those with autism.
Requires public schools to create student-specific elopement quick reference guides for certain students; provides requirements 911 intervention when a SWDs have eloped.
House Form 1209
Senate Form 1002
Autism Drowning Prevention Fund
This appropriation request would provide funds to cover swim lesson grants, door alarms for parents, training on autism to swim instructors and CPR classes to families.
Video Cameras in Public School Classrooms
Seeks to provide safety of children with disabilities via video cameras in public school classrooms and requires district school boards to establish policies to place cameras in self-contained classrooms upon parent request.
Home and Community-based Services Medicaid Waiver Program
Requires APD to develop & implement automated, electronic application process for specified services; provides requirements for application process; requires agency to provide application in printed form or portable document ......
Residential Swimming Pool Requirement
Requiring swimming pools located on residential real property that is transferred or sold on or after a specified date to meet certain pool safety and pool barrier requirements; requiring certain persons to report violations of the law to a local law enforcement agency, etc.