Archived | Autism Speaks™ Leadership Joins Pennsylvania House Speaker Dennis O’Brien in Announcing Introduction of Historic State Autism Legislation | Circa April 18, 2007 #NotAnAutisticAlly

Autism Speaks™ Leadership Joins Pennsylvania House Speaker Dennis O’Brien in Announcing Introduction of Historic State Autism Legislation

Bill Mandates That Private Insurers Provide Coverage for Early Intervention Services and Therapies for Individuals with Autism

HARRISBURG, PA (April 18, 2007) — Autism Speaks Co-founders Bob and Suzanne Wright, along with Executive Committee Member and Cure Autism Now founder Jon Shestack and actor and advocate Joe Pantoliano, today joined with leaders of the Pennsylvania legislature as they announced the introduction of landmark autism legislation.

The bill, introduced by House Speaker Dennis O’Brien and co-sponsored by Senator Jane Orie, would create a new “Autism Spectrum Disorders Coverage” provision of the Pennsylvania insurance law.

This provision would require private insurers to provide coverage of up to $3,000 per month for essential early intervention services and therapies for individuals with autism, including “behavioral interventions based on the principles of applied behavioral analysis and related structured behavioral programs for up to 40 hours a week.”

Bob Wright, center, speaks at the introduction of the bill, as Suzanne Wright, left, and Pennsylvania House Speaker Dennis O’Brien look on

Most states do not require private insurance companies to cover even essential autism treatments and services. In the absence of coverage, families often pay as much as they can out-of-pocket for services that can cost upwards of $50,000 per year, often risking their homes and the educations of their unaffected children – essentially mortgaging their entire futures.

“Speaker O’Brien has shown remarkable leadership on the issue of autism and a real understanding of the unique challenges faced by these families,” said Bob Wright.

“Without some share of the financial cost of caring for a child with autism being absorbed into the private health insurance system, this financial burden would continue to break the backs of Pennsylvania families.”

“This legislation will go a long way towards ensuring that kids get the early intervention services they need to give them the best possible quality of life,” added Shestack.

“Our goal is to make what’s happening here in Pennsylvania a blueprint for action in every state in America.

“Autism can wreak financial and emotional havoc and test the limits of even the most loving families,” said Suzanne Wright. “It’s time that insurance companies begin to provide coverage for the services our children deserve so these families can focus on creating a better future.”

“I have learned a lot about autism over the past year” said actor/advocate Joe Pantoliano, who played mobster Ralph Cifaretto on the hit HBO series “The Sopranos”.

“After seeing the documentary Autism Every Day at the Sundance Film Festival this year, I told Bob Wright I would do all I could to support his efforts to bring hope to families struggling to raise children with autism. First I was shocked to learn how prevalent autism had become and that 1 in 150 children were being diagnosed. Then I was even more shocked to hear that the therapies these children need are not covered by insurance”.

Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Autism Spectrum Disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism, and to advocating for the needs of affected families. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, General Electric, and Chairman, NBC Universal. Autism Speaks has merged with both the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and Cure Autism Now (CAN), bringing together the nation’s three leading autism advocacy organizations. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

Explore Autistic History

Explore Autistic History

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