With a new IACC meeting, there’s a chance to be heard. Send your comments now.

11 Nov

The Secretary of Health and Human Services has seated a new Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). The committee is in place to coordinate Federal and private research efforts and to provide policy advice to the Secretary and Congress.

The Committee takes public comment in both oral (be present at the meeting) and written. This is from the meeting announcement:

Notification of intent to present oral comments: Monday, November 9, 2015 by 5:00 p.m. Eastern

Submission of written/electronic statement for oral comments: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 by 5:00 p.m. Eastern

Submission of written comments: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 by 5:00 p.m. Eastern

Please note: Written public comments and statements accompanying oral public comments should be sent to IACCPublicInquiries@mail.nih.gov. The NIMH Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) anticipates that written public comments received by 5:00 p.m. ET, Tuesday, November 10, 2015 will be presented to the Committee prior to the November 17th meeting for the Committee’s consideration. Any written comments received after the 5:00 p.m. EST, November 10, 2015 deadline through November 16, 2015 will be provided to the Committee either before or after the meeting, depending on the volume of comments received and the time required to process them in accordance with privacy regulations and other applicable Federal policies. Please read the IACC Public Comment guidelines.

While on the last IACC, I pointed out that while oral comments were available on the website (through video), written comments were not. OARC responded and now written comments are posted to the IACC website. This was no small effort as Federal rules are different like privacy are different for comments that are made available on request vs. those that are posted like this.

All that aside, take a look at the comments. Ask yourself, do these represent your views? More, do they actually push for a better life for yourself or your loved one? I ask this because the groups that push the failed idea that vaccines are causing an autism epidemic are actually very good at getting comments submitted to the IACC.

I was a public member to the last IACC. I can tell you, we read all the comments. We took them seriously and I’m sure this Committee will as well.

This Committee has a lot of very important work to do. The Strategic Plan for autism research needs a full overhaul. The old one has basically expired–the goals were written with timelines that have already passed. There is also a requirement in the new law for a report on autistics transitioning from school to adulthood. Do you want that to include a strong emphasis on autistics who need high levels of support? Send comments. Do you want an emphasis on support in higher education? Send comments. If it’s important to you, it’s worth putting in a comment.

And, yes, I will be reminding you for future meetings as well.

But for now, put what you want the IACC to read into a message and email it to IACCPublicInquiries@mail.nih.gov.

The Committee members can’t represent the entire diversity that is in the autism communities. They need your input on what is important to you. And this is how you can do it.


By Matt Carey

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