Fitzpatrick Pushes for Recognition of Autism Care Givers

Sep 12, 2013 Issues: Congressional Issues, Health
Congressman Fitzpatrick speaks at an autism community roundtable in July
Fitzpatrick Pushes for Recognition of Autism Care Givers

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) introduced a resolution Thursday which would recognize the work of direct care workers who provide publicly funded long-term support for millions of individuals with disabilities- including autism.

The resolution [H. Res. 336] would mark the week beginning September 8, 2013 as ‘National Direct Support Professionals Week’. A matching resolution was introduced and unanimously passed by the Senate previously.

“Care givers have become increasingly important in the lives of those with disabilities- enabling them to stay with their families while leading meaningful, productive lives,” said Fitzpatrick, a member of the Congressional Autism Caucus. “‘National Direct Support Professionals Week’ would provide a way to recognize the outstanding commitment to service of these professionals.”

The resolution acknowledges the often under-appreciated duty of care givers in the daily life of those with disabilities, including their efforts to: prepare meals, manage medications, bathe, dress, assist with mobility and transportation, and helping with other general affairs.

“Direct support care givers are integral in allowing the individuals to live and succeed with their families as opposed to more costly, institutionalized care,” said Fitzpatrick. “It’s only right that we recognize their vital role in the care of others who live with disabilities.” 

“This legislation is to recognize the 3 million people who go to work every day in the US to "be with" persons who have been marginalized.  Direct Support Professionals work out of a sense of compassion, knowing they and the people they are with are both being brought alive by sharing their respective gifts of respect, vulnerability, and ultimately love,” said Joe Landis, CEO and founder of Peaceful Living in Souderton. “We are very fortunate to have a representative like Congressman Fitzpatrick who has taken the time to listen to families, agencies, and communities and respond by supporting frontline staff with this legislation, who are making a difference every day, one act of kindness at a time.”

‘National Direct Support Professionals Week’ would draw attention to the direct support professional field which is suffering through documented shortages of trained workers across the United States.

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Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick is serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He represents Pennsylvania’s 8th district which includes all of Bucks County as well as a portion of Montgomery County. He serves as the Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.