TMG Reflections

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Nov, 18 2013

Lorden takes part in first-ever Autism Speaks Summit


Autism Speaks Summit logoJaclyn Lorden, Senior Vice President of The Meltzer Group in its Group Benefits Division, recently took part in the first-ever Autism Speaks National Policy and Action Summit. The event took place in Washington, D.C. from November 12-14, and included a day on Capitol Hill, with visits to all 535 members of Congress.

Lorden, whose son Oliver has Autism, was recently invited to join Autism Speaks – Autism Congress, and will serve as the District Advocacy Chair for Maryland’s 4th District. As part of the Autism Congress, she was invited to attend the summit.

“Oliver was diagnosed with Autism on October 11, 2012 – two months before his second birthday,” Lorden explains. “I remember the day like it was yesterday. Since then, I have learned a lot, most importantly is that in addition to being Oliver’s mother, I am Oliver’s advocate.”

She continued, “I believe Autism Speaks is the greatest advocate for the Autism Community. It was only natural for me to commit my time to such an impressive organization dedicated to improving the future of all who struggle with Autism Spectrum Disorder, like my Oliver.”

The focus of the summit was to bring together leaders from across the country, including top Obama Administration officials, members of Congress, governors, prominent scientists and policy experts, key stakeholders, volunteers and activists to focus on a national strategy on autism.

The summit began on Tuesday, November 11 with a meet-and-greet of the Congressional Autism Caucus, while on November 12, the group gathered at George Washington University for a day of keynote speakers and presentations. Autism Speaks unveiled its state and federal advocacy strategy and advances in science and research, and a discussion centering on the housing needs of those with autism also took place.

On the final day of the summit, the group took over Capitol Hill, visiting all 535 members of Congress, and delivering petitions from every state in the nation.