09/25/2012 06:27 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Autism and the Election

I am going to try and not get too political here. Truth be told, that is difficult for me, because I tend to wear my political leanings on my sleeve.

All this talk about the secretly-taped Romney fundraiser, and his assertion that apparently 47 percent of the electorate is full of people that are looking for a handout and have feelings of self-entitlement, got me to thinking.

I don't know about 47 percent, but at least around 1 percent of the population has a right to feel like they are entitled, and it isn't the wealthiest 1 percent you usually hear about -- it is the 1 percent with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

They should be entitled to the therapy they need without discrimination from health insurance companies. They should be entitled to going to school free from bullying. They should be entitled to every opportunity imaginable to reach their full potential.

Yet even though that 1 percent has every reason to feel entitled, do you know what we find? People who WANT to contribute. We find people who want to be gainfully employed, independent and contributing members of society. They just want to be given the keys to unlock their passion and their abilities. They want the opportunity to realize THEIR dreams.

Here is the rub, though. A fair amount of that 1 percent will not vote. Their parents probably will, but the ones that are the most impacted, the ones that need the fair shake, they aren't participating in the political discourse for the most part. They are dependent upon society to do what is right.

We HAVE to do something. We HAVE to do more. We HAVE to get autism insurance reform on the tip of the tongues of EVERY politician out there. It is urgent. What are we waiting for? Together we can make a difference. We need our leaders to understand that autism is a health crisis. Do it for your 1 in 88. Do it because it is right. Do it because it is necessary. We must be the ones to act, because the climb for any minority group in this country to gain rights that should logically be afforded them but are not in a majority-ruled society... is steep. It requires persistence and an intense effort by the enlightened to educate those who are in the dark. So it is up to us.

We need to do something NOW that can greatly impact the lives of autistic individuals. It is about getting kids the therapies they need. It is about providing young adults with job and life skills. It is about making sure that there are safe and affordable housing options that serve not as a place to hide autistics away, but as an extension of their treatment plan so that they can be included in society and all it has to offer.

For more information on what you can do to get involved, please visit Autism Votes, and if you have a couple of minutes, watch this great video.

For more by Lou Melgarejo, click here.

For more on autism, click here.