At the Ways and Means and Health Care Finance Committee Hearing, Leo Sarkissian, Gillian Buckley and Herb Cabral provided testimony in support of the legislature rejecting the Governor’s Mass Health cuts and to override the DDS line item vetos.
Pictured with Leo is Gillian Buckley, a 19 year old sibling of two brothers with autism and a state house intern for Representative Jeff Roy.
July 24, 2017
Dear Committee Members,
Thank you for the opportunity to come before you today. My name is Gillian Buckley and I am the oldest sibling of two brothers with autism and complex medical diagnoses. My 16 year old brother, Neil is nonverbal and has severe behavioral challenges. I worry so much about his safety. He can become easily frustrated or when he is in pain he becomes aggressive or self-injurious. He has always needed intensive supports to keep him safe and he will need these supports as he transitions into the adult services world.
Neil uses a communication device to tell us his basic needs but even that is a struggle for him. He needs help showering, cooking, brushing his teeth – just about all tasks. He also has grand mal seizures and GI issues that cause him pain. My family has been vigilant to his needs and throughout his entitlement years – he has had excellent services. He works hard to get by each day – he does his part by trying and making little steps of progress.
It scares me to think about the proposed cuts in the DDS budget and in Masshealth because these are lifelines for my brothers and my family. As young adults like my brothers face these potential cuts, I know families like mine will be in crisis. If funding is not available for day supports, transportation employment or residential, individuals like my brother will be at risk and caregivers like my mom will have to leave their jobs to take care of their young adults.
Please help address these cuts and thank you for listening to my story. I am grateful for the leadership that I witness here as an intern at the State House. Thank you for your consideration of the needs of people with autism and other developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Gillian Buckley, sibling, Intern for State Representative Jeff Roy