Would Donald Trump Be an Autism Friendly President?
Photo: Michael Vadon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Back in 2008, many autism advocates were tremendously optimistic when then-candidate Barack Obama pledged to be the first “autism president” and promised more support, funding and even the appointment of an Autism Czar to help combat the disorder.
At the time, many within the autism community finally believed that meaningful reforms and changes would be made to lessen its impact on families across the country. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
While the Obama administration has made some conciliatory gestures towards dealing with autism-related issues (i.e. CARES Act of 2014, etc.), many autism advocacy groups have felt the president has not gone nearly far enough and fell short of the promises he made before taking office.
With Obama’s presidential term coming to an end in a little less than 500 days, many within the autism community are now setting their sites on the next batch of presidential candidates to determine who will be the most aggressive in dealing with the myriad of issues that face their loved ones.
In the second Republican primary debate hosted by CNN a few weeks ago, the topic of autism became front-and-center when Dr. Ben Carson (a renowned pediatric neurosurgeon) squared off against Donald Trump over the issue of vaccines and their potential link to autism:
The topic was initially raised by debate moderator Jake Tapper because of Trump’s long-held the view that a tightly-clustered vaccine schedule poses potential risks for infants and young children. To back his claims, he often gives case studies of friends and employees with children who have had adverse reactions to vaccinations.
Even prior to becoming a presidential candidate, Trump had been very supportive and friendly towards autism-related causes and there is no reason to believe that would be any different if he were to become president. It is also worth noting that Trump is very close friends of Bob and Suzanne, co-founders of Autism Speaks.
With that said, it will be interesting to see if families who don’t align with Donald Trump politically can look past some of his other controversial positions and vote for him anyway.
Trump, as well as other candidates on both sides of the political aisle, would be wise to focus on this particular voting block. Those who vow aggressive funding, awareness and support to autism families have the potential to win over many single-issues voters in this area. And with autism rates at astronomical levels, this block represents a sizable amount of voters.
However, it remains to be seen if those who are not keen to the idea of a “President Trump” would be willing to hold their nose and vote for him anyway if it meant a better future for their loved one(s) with autism.
H/T: Beth Clay