Sen. Hwang and Rep. Abercrombie Host Autism Spectrum Awareness Panel Discussion

October 12, 2018
Sen. Hwang at Autism Awareness day

Sen. Tony Hwang speaks with CWCS Commissioner Steve Hernandez

Hartford—At the Capitol on Thursday October 4th, Sen. Hwang (R-28) and Rep. Abercrombie (D-83) hosted a panel discussion on community, productivity, and independence for people living on the autism spectrum and their loved ones.

“It was an honor to host this important series of panels focusing on community, productivity, and independence for people living on the autism spectrum in Connecticut,” said Sen. Hwang. “We heard a lot of stories from people and parents living on the spectrum. Some of the shared experiences were unbelievably uplifting. Most importantly, we began a dialogue about ways government can help this community. We want to raise awareness of the importance of this issue to everyone, including people who don’t know anyone living with autism. Again, I’d like to thank Steven Hernandez of Connecticut Commission On Women, Children, and Seniors and Shannon Knall of Autism Speaks for getting the panelists together a great and informative event.”

“The Autism spectrum is broad, and in order develop the most inclusive policy, it is critical to get the perspective of many stakeholders, like self-advocates, parents and providers, “ said Shannon Leary Knall, parent to an autistic young adult and Autism Speaks Connecticut Advocacy chair. “It is critical that we work with engaged policy makers to create legislation which represents the whole spectrum, and addresses their needs across a life span, to include employment and independence. I am thankful to Senator Hwang and Representative Abercrombie for their leadership.”

The discussion ran for three hours, divided between three topic panels: community, productivity, and independence.

“Families and self-advocates affected by Autism are no different from all families in the state in their desire for independent, productive and successful lives,” said Steven Hernandez. “Our task is to remove barriers and create opportunities to that end.”

Each topic featured different panelists with different stories, perspectives, and expertise. Government officials, caregivers, and people living on the spectrum will all be participating. The whole discussion ran for three hours and can be seen by clicking here.

Caption: Sen. Hwang chairs the panel discussion on living with the autism spectrum in Connecticut. Pictured from left to right: Judith Ursitti, a parent and advocate, Sen. Hwang, Steven Hernandez, Executive Director of the Connecticut Commission on Women, Children, and Seniors, Rep. Cathy Abercrombie, and Darlene Borree, a parent and advocate.

Video: Sen. Hwang introduces the panel.