May 6, 2021
Here are our introductory comments:
Today’s talk is entitled “Let Me Hear Your Voice: Effecting Change through Effective Advocacy” and is presented to us by Lorri Unumb Esquire, the CEO of the Council of Autism Service Providers. Lorri’s career in law began at the University of South Carolina where she earned degrees magna cum laude in broadcasting and political science and was awarded a full scholarship to USC Law School, where she graduated with honors.
Lorri’s advocacy in autism was inspired by her personal experience of being a mother to a child with autism as her oldest of three sons, Ryan, has autism. In 2005, she wrote ground-breaking autism insurance legislation for South Carolina (“Ryan’s Law”) that passed in 2007 and served as the catalyst for the national movement toward autism insurance reform.
Following the passing of Ryan’s Law, Lorri worked at Autism Speaks where she served for more than a decade as Vice-President for State Government Affairs. Lorri oversaw advocacy initiatives in all 50 states and was responsible for spearheading the autism insurance reform movement, which led to 49 states requiring meaningful health insurance benefits for autism, including Applied Behavior Analysis coverage.
In 2019 she became the CEO of the Council of Autism Service Providers which advocates for best practices in autism services.These are just a few highlights in Lorri’s long and celebrated career. In addition, she has founded the Unumb Center for Neurodevelopment which provides services to people with autism in South Carolina. She and her husband, Dan, wrote the first-ever comprehensive textbook on legal issues related to autism, entitled Autism and the Law. She has won numerous awards for her contributions to autism advocacy including the Autism Society of America 2008 Parents of the Year Award; the Behavior Analyst Certification Board’s Michael Hemingway Award; and the California Association for Behavior Analysis 2012 Leadership in Law Award.
We could not be more thrilled to have such a high-impact speaker here with us today. About 50% of people who receive a SynGAP1 diagnosis will also receive a co-diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Lorri has spoken with Syngap Research Fund advocates in the past about advocating for proper treatment of our loved ones and is aware of the unique challenges we face as a community.