On the Rohde again: Nick's family bids Oklahoma farewell

This week, Wayne Rohde sent out an e-mail informing his friends and networks of his family’s decision to leave Oklahoma. For the last several years, Wayne and his wife Robyne have been tireless and fierce advocates for Nick’s Law, legislation named after their son that would require insurance companies to cover health care services related to autism. We are sharing Wayne’s farewell e-mail in full below; you can also click here to watch an interview with Wayne and read the Oklahoman article about his family’s efforts and decision. As the parent of a child on the autistic spectrum, I have been especially grateful for the Rohde’s passion and advocacy on behalf of their child, our child, and so many others, and wish them all the best in their new home.

From Wayne Rohde:  I want to announce to all of you that my family and I are moving from Edmond to Minnesota at the end of the month.  While we are very excited to go to a state that is autism friendly and we will be able to provide the greatest amount of education and medical care for our son Nick, we are saddened to leave Oklahoma and the many friends that we have had the pleasure of meeting and knowing.

The battles at the state capitol for insurance coverage for autism (Nick’s Law) and other medical conditions for our children, teenagers, and adults must go on.  We are very proud of the many families and parents that have given so much to move this state forward.  We appreciate each and every one of you, for advocating for your kids and other family members, and for never giving up.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has” – Margaret Mead

Sen Jay Paul Gumm and Rep Mike Brown will continue the fight for Nick’s Law.  These are men of great character and conviction.  Help them and follow them.  There are now 21 states that have passed similar legislation and with New York waiting for their governor’s signature, that will make 22 states.  Most of these states see insurance coverage for autism and other special needs conditions as a fiscally conservative approach to health care, a true pro-life position, and the morally responsible thing to do.  Continue that approach at 23rd and Lincoln.

There is an emergence of new candidates running for political office.  Seek them out, get to know them, and talk with them.  It is your responsibility to let your elected representatives know where you stand.

This state has so far to go but because of your efforts and from others, we have come a long way.  There are those who have been advocating for many years prior to our recent efforts in the last 4 to 5 years.  They are to be congratulated and honored.  Learn from them.  And there will be many to come after our efforts.  Welcome them, teach them, and encourage them.

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate.  Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. Proverbs 31:8-9

We had the privilege of working side by side with many of you at the capitol and throughout the state fighting for Nick’s Law, reforming special education in our state, advancing public awareness of autism and special needs, and other issues related to special needs children and adults.

But there is so much more to do.  Many of our children will become teenagers very soon and employment opportunities need to be expanded.  Many of you are on the forefront of transition services, we thank all of you for your tireless work.  There is a tidal wave approaching our nation regarding the large numbers of children with autism becoming adults in the next 3 to 4 years.  Employment, housing, long term care, and many other issues will have to be addressed.

“It was once said that the moral test of our society, our government, is how we treat those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” – Hubert Humphrey

So we say good bye to all of you.  Best wishes for you and your families.  God Bless.


Wayne, Robyne, Austin, and Nicholas Rohde


Former Executive Director David Blatt joined OK Policy in 2008 and served as its Executive Director from 2010 to 2019. He previously served as Director of Public Policy for Community Action Project of Tulsa County and as a budget analyst for the Oklahoma State Senate. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Cornell University and a B.A. from the University of Alberta. David has been selected as Political Scientist of the Year by the Oklahoma Political Science Association, Local Social Justice Champion by the Dan Allen Center for Social Justice, and Public Citizen of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers.

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