Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

October 18, 2012

Letter: Finegold fought for those with autism

Editor, Townsman:

For those of you whom may not know State Sen. Barry Finegold personally, I would like to take a moment to try and describe his devotion and dedication to, not only all of the citizens in his district, but especially to all the families and individuals affected by autism.

Autism is a behavioral and developmental disorder which currently affects 1 in 88 children.

It is with great honor and pride that I have the ability to work with children diagnosed with autism on a daily basis. As a behavioral program manager and therapist, I personally come in contact with the hardships that this diagnosis can have on an individual and their respective family members. With this constant struggle, early intervention and continuing services are essential for these children in order to gain major life skills which are needed for everyday functioning, both within the home and the community. However, up until recently, these essential services were not accessible to most because of high cost.

I have known Finegold, both professionally and personally, for over nine years now and his extreme devotion to our state and what is right for our people is prominent in his everyday encounters. He truly cares in depth about the people and organizations within our district.

At this time, two years ago, I found myself writing a similar letter to our editor, describing Finegold’s involvement with our state’s ARICA bill and his constant support in the Statehouse at getting it passed. ARICA mandates that health insurance companies within our state must provide coverage for research based and proven intervention strategies/therapies such as Applied Behavior Analysis, to all children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Finegold fought and supported this bill throughout the entire process until it was officially passed into law in early 2011.

Through many conversations and face-to-face discussions with Finegold regarding the necessity of this bill, I can honestly say he made a difference. Because of his constant fight for services and equality in all of our citizens, including our children, every child will have the right to a brighter tomorrow. I sincerely hope you will join me in supporting State Sena. Barry Finegold for re election on Nov. 6 as he continues to fight for what is right and necessary for all of our citizens and for this district.

Sarah O’Leary, M.S.

Greenwood Road

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