Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Call Your Legislator!!!

It ‘s time to get going on our grassroots push for Autism Insurance Legislation! We need to make sure that we are well organized and all working together to get this bill passed. We would like you to call or write a letter to your legislators between now and New Years. We need you to communicate to your legislators with specific, unique messages. If everyone is using exactly the same sentences in their letters and phone calls, it doesn't have the same impact. Studies have shown that when a legislator gets just 5 unique contacts on the same issue, they perceive it as a groundswell. It is very important to include every possible way a legislator can contact you. There's nothing more aggravating to a legislator than getting a letter or phone call with no phone number or mailing address or email address to reply to. We’re going to go over some talking points, but you need to make sure that your phone call is unique to you and your relation to autism. Please don’t use these points word for word.

1. Make sure your legislator knows that you are their constituent. Legislators always respond more when they know one of their voters has contacted them. This could be said in a few different ways. “I am your constituent.” “I live in your district.” “I voted for you in the recent election, now I need your help.” “I live down the street.” or “in the neighborhood down the street from you.”

2. This is where you tell them your personal story about autism. It doesn’t need to be a long explanation, but it does need to be your own. “My son/daughter has autism, I have found that the services offered for him are highly insufficient….” “There are therapies for autism that are known to help autism, but I can’t afford to pay for them all out of pocket.” “I have taken a second mortgage on my home to pay for autism therapies” “I have a friend or neighbor or relative who has a child with autism. I have seen first hand the hardships that they go through because of the lack of services for their child.” “My friend/neighbor/relative should have more options.” If you are a friend/neighbor/relative of someone who lives with autism in their home, you can ask that family what some of their personal hardships have been, and convey those to your legislator.

3. Ask them to help by supporting Clay’s Law. “I need a personal favor from you, please co-sponsor the autism insurance bill.” “Please help my family and the rest of the families in this state by co-sponsoring the autism insurance bill” “I need you to help me by supporting this bill.”

4. We don’t expect you to know every detail of this bill. So, if they want to know more specifics about the bill, tell them to contact the bill’s sponsor, Senator Howard Stephenson. Then let us know, and we can contact them with more information.

5. Thank them for their time.

It is very important that while you are speaking with your legislator, you need to be as kind and gracious as possible. We know that many of you are so frustrated and angry about the lack of care. These are not the people to take it out on. Legislators need to feel like we need them to help us. So, please use the most kind words while speaking with them.

Once you have finished with your phone call, please report back to us at about how your legislator responded. The easiest way for us to understand how well the legislators are responding is through all of you speaking with them. So please get back to us with as much detail as possible. We will not be asking anyone to email their legislators. Studies have shown that it is a highly inefficient way to gain support from legislators. So please stick to phone calls and letters.

Thank you for taking the time to contact your legislators. This bill will not get passed without the hundreds of phone calls that need to take place. We appreciate your time and support for this legislation.

If you know who your legislators are you can find their contact info at: and
The senate website hasn't updated their new legislators contact info yet. So, email me if you can't find your Senators contact info.

If you don't know who your legislators are, you can find out by visiting and entering your zip code.