US Presidential Debate

Autism was back in the headlines when the two Presidential candidates met in the third and final debate recently. Barack Obama and John McCain both spoke out on autism. A few months ago we urged both candidates to speak out on autism and the need for greater support for parents, cares, children and adults with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome via the Blogger News Network.

The next President of the United States must come up with concrete proposals to help and support the vulnerable. We have also urged the next incumbent of the White House (via the Blogger News Network) to hold an event – inviting parents, carers, children and adults with autism to the White House in Washington DC. This has never happened before – it will be an ideal opportunity for the next President of the United States to reach out to people with autism.

In a reference to his running mate Governor Sarah Palin, John McCain said: ‘She’ll be my partner. She understands reform. And, by the way, she also understands special-needs families. She understands that autism is on the rise, that we’ve got to find out what’s causing it, and we’ve got to reach out to these families, and help them, and give them the help they need as they raise these very special needs children.’

Replying to McCain, Barack Obama said: ‘I think it’s very commendable the work she’s done on behalf of special needs. I agree with that, John. I do want to just point out that autism, for example, or other special needs will require some additional funding, if we’re going to get serious in terms of research. That is something that every family that advocates on behalf of disabled children talk about. And if we have an across-the-board spending freeze, we’re not going to be able to do it.’

This is the first time in the history of a Presidential Election that autism has received such high profile coverage and specifically mentioned by the Democratic Party candidate and the Republican Pary candidate for the U.S.Presidency. This was a historic moment. We now need to move away from mere words and for the next President to take firm action on autism – funding is the key. Both candidates are absolutely right – extra funding is need for public services.

To watch the clip on the references to autism in the final debate between Barack Obama and John McCain please access the link on You Tube:

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