The mind-set of the Oklahoma voter, as Scott Cooper points out in the SoonerPoll.com data (March 31, 2010, Oklahoma Gazette), indicates that the voters are sensitive to the needs of autistic people. In a recent meeting at the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education with state legislative representatives from the metro area, I brought up “the A word: autism” and was bluntly told by Rep. Mike Reynolds that it was off the table. I indicated that for families with autistic members, it is on the table every day and year.
This refusal to listen or discuss the subject indicates that the legislative majority is serving the minority interest of the insurance companies. Voters should hold them accountable for their intransigence.
I have worked with people with autism for more than 10 years. If the legislative majority had any practical experience with autistic people, they would understand and would vote differently.
Breakthroughs are being made as we speak at the National Institute on Developmental Delays, directed by Father Paul Zahler, in Shawnee.
We should be seeking solutions to our problems through dialogue, instead of postponing them. The capacity to care is what gives life its great significance.
Santos-Rivera has served as District 7 representative for Oklahoma City Public Schools.