Next steps in the Campaign
Last week, I sent our petition and signatures to Easter Seals NH Preident and CEO Larry Gammon. I have not recieved a response. I would like to draw some more attention to this issue. I have attached a press release that I am sending to NH newspapers and other media.
THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN HELP:
1) Call the news desk at your local paper and ask if they are covering this story. Talk about how ASD has impacted your family and share your thoughts about NH's response (or lack there of) to this issue.
2) Consider submitting a short letter to the editor. Again, personalize it and share your concern about the lack of resources. Losing the Easter Seals program is the "final straw," the "tip of the iceberg," (and lots of other cliches). There is a BIG ISSUE here: Families are are not being heard.
Thanks for your continued support!
PRESS RELEASE IS PASTED HERE
Easter Seals NH Ends Popular Autism Service
September 30, 2013 – New Hampshire families want Easter Seals to bring back Manchester’s Autism Family Support Specialist, a resource they say is critical in helping parents navigate the services and supports needed by children, teens, and adults living with autism. Easter Seals management abruptly terminated the position earlier in September, citing funding constraints. A part-time specialist at Easter Seals Dover office left in June and has not been replaced.
In a petition addressed to President and Chief Operating Officer Larry Gammon, nearly 700 family members and service providers asked that Easter Seals reconsider its decision to no longer staff the Autism Family Support Program with specialists. “The Granite State has invested pitifully few resources in addressing the many public health challenges associated with the rapidly rising incidence of ASD, now thought to impact 1 in 88 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control,” reads the petition. “Easter Seals NH has been an exception in recognizing the critical need for family support that targets this growing population in our state.”
The petition drive was coordinated by Kirsten Murphy, who has been a vocal advocate for increased attention to the impact of ASD. “Autism is a very complex neurological condition that brings unique challenges to day-to-day family life,” explained Murphy. “Other care coordinators in NH do not specialize in autism and a family may not qualify for their assistance. This was our only ‘hotline,’ and now it’s gone cold,” said Murphy.
In a story that parents say is typical, Linda Haynes of East Hampstead recalled the time when her son, then age three, was newly diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. “I was absolutely out of my mind. There was no one to direct me in this incredibly difficult journey. There are school personnel, medical personnel, physicians, but there is no one that has walked this path, no one that has had to learn to deal with this diagnosis twenty-four seven.”
Haynes sought help from Easter Seals Autism Support Specialist. “She connected me and encouraged me to attend events which is no easy task with a youngster. My family is truly in a better position because of her direction and support,” said Haynes.
To learn more:
Kirsten Murphy: [email protected] or 603-443-0652