WEB EXTRA: Christopher's letter to senators

Dear Senator xxxx,

My name is Christopher, I live in North Carolina, and I have autism.  I am writing to say thank you for supporting the autism insurance bill (HB 498), which some of my friends call "Christopher's Law."  My grandma says you should always write a thank-you note when someone gives you a gift, and you have given me the best gift I have ever gotten.

My daddy works on the autism bill because he saw how many of my friends were not getting the therapy they need, even though their doctors told them to get it! My therapists who work with me every day are teaching me how to talk, how to imitate other people, and how to do things by myself (like dressing, brushing my teeth, and using the bathroom). I love it when they help me understand how to do new things!

I didn't want to have autism, and I'm pretty sure my mommy and daddy didn't want me to have it. We couldn't help it, though. Nobody knows what causes autism. They only know some ways to help me overcome the problems that autism causes me.

When I grow up, I want to be a taxpayer!  Isn't that funny?  None of the grown-ups I know want to pay taxes, but I sure hope I get to. I want to have a job so that I can support myself, because I really don't want to live in an institution. My therapists are helping me so that I can live in a house when I grow up and not in an institution.

My friends want to live in houses, too, but some of their mommies and daddies can't pay for therapy. I'm pretty sure those friends are going to end up in institutions. I hope that "Christopher's Law" really becomes law so that my friends can get the therapy they need. They really don't have time to wait, because, even though some of our wiring is a little bit messed up, our brains work best now – while we are young!

Thank you for working with my daddy and his friends on this bill.  I bet your family and friends are proud of you for helping so many North Carolina families. When I grow up, I'm going to vote for you because you voted for me.

Christopher D'Amelio
Charlotte, NC