PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - May 13, 2021 


President Biden taps Tracy Stone-Manning to be director of Bureau of Land Management; and Colorado schools get new tools to help students distinguish between news, commentary and disinformation.


2021Talks - May 13, 2021 


Republicans oust Liz Cheney from her leadership role, Dr. Anthony Fauci urges more vaccinations, NAACP leaders voice support for voting rights legislation, and Nancy Pelosi is optimistic about the infrastructure bill.

On World Autism Acceptance Day, Advocates Seek More Than Awareness

Downloading Audio

Click to download

We love that you want to share our Audio! And it is helpful for us to know where it is going.
Media outlets that are interested in downloading content should go to www.newsservice.org
Click Here if you do not already have an account and need to sign up.
Please do it now, as the option to download our audio packages is ending soon

According to the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, over 1.1 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have been detected among people with disabilities living in congregate settings. Connecticut accounts for about 0.02% of that number. (Adobe Stock)
According to the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, over 1.1 million COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have been detected among people with disabilities living in congregate settings. Connecticut accounts for about 0.02% of that number. (Adobe Stock)
 By Michayla Savitt/Dan Heyman - Producer, Contact
April 2, 2021

HARTFORD, Conn. - Today is World Autism Acceptance Day, and this year, advocates for people with developmental disabilities are raising awareness about the need for pandemic relief and better health services in the face of COVID-19.

Zoe Gross, advocacy director at the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, or ASAN - said the pandemic has had an outsized impact on neuro-diverse people - from not being prioritized in the vaccine rollout, to adjusting to home services with COVID precautions.

She said organizations that provide home- and community-based services are now struggling with a lack of funding.

"This puts people at risk of being forced to go into institutions," said Gross. "COVID is just spreading kind of uncontrolled through a lot of congregate settings, or places where many people with disabilities live packed together."

ASAN's COVID-19 Tracker of people living with disabilities in congregate settings shows Connecticut has fewer cases than most states.

Gross said she is optimistic the situation will improve with the latest American Rescue Plan, which includes $400 billion to expand Medicaid home services.

Anecdotally, Gross said her organization has heard frustration from the autistic community that some have felt abandoned by society in the last year.

"When people were first talking about the pandemic, they were saying things like, 'Oh, I'm not worried, because it's only people with preexisting conditions who would get really sick and die,'" said Gross. "And people in our community are sort of raising our hands, saying, 'Wait, that's me - it's not okay if I get sick and die!'"

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says most people with developmental disabilities and without a comorbidity are not at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID - but they might have trouble getting information about the virus, discussing symptoms, or practicing preventive measures.

Sara Taussik, director of programs and training with Autism Services and Resources Connecticut, said she feels adults with developmental disabilities are underserved, and said the need is critical.

She said she's advocating for additional funding to add 50 new slots to the program.

"There's only about 150 spots on that waiver, with 10 new slots coming in each year," said Taussik. "That's what the state is budgeted for. And we have over 1,800 individuals on the waitlist for this waiver. There's a lot of people that need services, and there's very limited funding and services available."

April also marks Autism Acceptance Month. Taussik said she thinks the focus should be on sharing more information about autism, and supporting individuals so they can live independent, constructive lives.

Best Practices