Missed the event?
Click here to support MHAS.
Click to donate to MHAS

www.mhas-la.org for the latest news and information from Mental Health Advocacy Services.



  Find us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  View our profile on LinkedIn
Join Our Mailing List
 for making our 2014 Annual Celebration a success!

Thanks to everyone who made our 2014 Annual Celebration a big success! The event was held on October 15, hosted by the law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP. It was a wonderful evening, highlighted by the moving speeches made by honorees Ido Kedar and District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

We are grateful to our honorees, speakers, event sponsors, volunteers, and everyone who attended or supported the event. The funds generated by the event are critical in allowing MHAS to continue providing free legal services to people with mental disabilities.

View more event photos on our website or Facebook.
IdoKedarSpeechIdo Kedar's Speech
(The following is the text of Ido Kedar's speech at the event. It is also posted on his blog.)

I am truly honored to be standing here tonight receiving this recognition. I am honored to be here with our District Attorney, Jackie Lacey, too. It is a reminder that advocates can be high school students or politicians, or anyone else. We just need to care deeply about a cause.


As you look at me, some of you must be wondering if I really wrote my speechAfter all, you've probably heard that most nonverbal autistic people have low cognition, no insight, no theory of mind, no inner world and poor receptive language.

Guess who told you that? It wasn't people with autism, that's for sure.

I have a very misunderstood condition. My disability is caused by my brain's faulty linkage to my motor system. So truly, I think and understand though I may look like I don't. Add to that a sensory system that is malfunctioning, and you have an idea how tough it can be.

The truth is, autism itself is easier than the incorrect assumptions by the so-called experts and specialists out there. A locked-in, motor impaired, sensory overwhelmed child cannot escape this on his own. Consequently, few nonverbal autistic people learn to communicate. Experts comfort themselves that we can't communicate because we don't understand.

I got fed up with this, because all around me are smart autistic people dying of boredom and loneliness, not able to communicate one idea more sophisticated than a basic need.

My decision at twelve was to speak out and correct this misinformation.

I was denied an education in elementary school because of the expert opinion that an academic curriculum was beyond my intellectual abilities. Now I am an AP student in 12th grade, ready to go to college next year. If my parents had listened to my experts I would still be stagnating in 1+2=3 expectations.

Things are changing gradually. Other autistic typers are speaking out too. We face resistance by people who believe theories over truth. But in time I know that the current paradigm will be discarded, like so many other incorrect theories, and the nonverbal will at last have a voice in their futures.

Thank you.

Special Thanks to Event Sponsors

Lucy and David Eisenberg
Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
Gregory and Juanita Weingart



Jane and Ken Anderson
Jacqueline R. Klein
Latham & Watkins LLP

The Morrison & Foerster Foundation
O'Melveny & Myers LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP



Houman Ehsan

Faruqi & Faruqi LLP
Gibson Dunn LLP
Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP
Neil A. Rubin
The Sidley Austin Foundation
Wargo French




Hillary J. Baca
David Bower
Areta Crowell, Ph.D.
Douglas L. Hall
Andrew and Megan Hirsch

Shirley and Matthew Kirby
Sarah and Jason Powers
Laura L. Richardson
Ryu Law Firm
Elyn R. Saks

2014 Advocates Award Recipient

"This is the time, we're so much more enlightened about mental illness." 

Read about District Attorney Jackie Lacey's efforts to divert individuals with mental disabilities out of the criminal justice system:


IdoKedar2014 Advocates Award Recipient

"I spent the first half of my life completely trapped in silence. The second - on becoming a free soul."

Ido Kedar is on a mission to help others with autism. His book, "Ido in Autismland - Climbing Out of Autism's Silent Prison," chronicles his journey and challenges the way individuals with autism are perceived and treated.

Read Ido Kedar's blog, "Ido in Autismland"
Mental Health Advocacy Services

The mission of Mental Health Advocacy Services (MHAS) is to protect and advance the legal rights of children and adults with mental disabilities, in order to maximize autonomy, promote equality, and secure the resources needed to thrive in the community. MHAS was founded in 1977 as a project of the Los Angeles County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations. In 1979 MHAS became an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. MHAS provides free legal services to approximately 3,000 low-income adults and children annually, with an emphasis on obtaining government benefits and services, protecting rights and fighting discrimination. MHAS also serves as a resource to the community by providing training and technical assistance to attorneys, mental health professionals, consumer and family member groups, and other advocates. In addition, MHAS participates in impact litigation in an effort to improve the lives of people with mental disabilities.