Meet Allie – a two year old who was recently diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Allie’s mom Julie said that her daughter’s Autism diagnosis turned her family’s life upside down. “As a parent I am heartbroken with thoughts of all the extra challenges my daughter will have to face.”
Fortunately, Allie has been receiving therapy at one of the twelve centers of The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP). Her parents have also been trained by TAP in the ways in which they can help their daughter. “The TAP program makes this diagnosis bearable,” Julie said. “It makes goals attainable, and most of all gives us hope for the future of our daughter.” The progress has been steady. In less than six months, Allie has gained the ability to use pointing and some words to communicate. She is making eye contact, and recently gave her mom a kiss for the first time!
However, all the progress Allie has made could be lost. Governor Quinn has proposed cutting TAP’s budget, eliminating thousands of hours of the type of direct services that have so dramatically helped Allie. His proposal would also cut the trainings that have helped Julie and her family adjust to Allie’s diagnosis and provide the support she needs.
It’s not fair. It’s not right. In the past four years, TAP’s budget has already been cut by 14.1 percent. TAP has already done its part to share the pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of Autism cases is rising. Yet here in Illinois, there aren’t nearly enough resources to meet the needs of children with Autism, much less those adults on the Autism spectrum.
Our priority MUST be services for our children. According to the CDC, early diagnosis and effective intervention are critical to a positive outcome and will actually decrease the need for adult services.
Allie and her family need our help. Make your voice heard in support of level funding for The Autism Program of Illinois. Share Allie’s story with your friends and neighbors. Then visit send an email to our state officials to oppose funding cuts that could eliminate all the progress Allie has made.