Autism Speaks Names Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., as Chief Science Officer
Drawing on More Than 20 years of Scientific Leadership at the University of Washington, Dawson will Set the Strategic Agenda for Autism Speaks’ Leading Autism Science Program
NEW YORK, NY (Dec 6, 2007) – Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading autism advocacy organization, today announced the appointment of Dr. Geraldine Dawson to the new post of Chief Science Officer. The announcement was made by Bob Wright, co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Autism Speaks.
Autism Speaks’ primary mission is to raise funds and public awareness to facilitate research on autism. Dawson, who assumes her new position on January 1, culminates a six-month global search for a Chief Science Officer at a critical juncture in the battle against autism. Currently, one in 150 children is diagnosed with autism — a nearly ten-fold increase over the last decade, with a new case diagnosed almost every twenty minutes.
As Chief Science Officer, Dr. Dawson will serve as the scientific leader of Autism Speaks, working with the Scientific Affairs Committee, Scientific Advisory Board, and the science staff to expand and communicate the foundation’s scientific vision and strategy. Autism Speaks’ annual budget for research funding has grown to more than $30 million in 2007 and is expected to increase by fifteen to twenty-five percent per year during the next few years.
Dr. Dawson is Professor of Psychology and Founding Director of the University of Washington Autism Center, which was recently named one of six Autism Centers of Excellence by the National Institutes of Health.
The University of Washington Autism Center is the largest treatment and research center on autism in the northwestern United States, providing clinical services and treatment to more than 600 patients annually. Its research arm employs more than 35 PhD or MD-level scientists, studying treatment, genetics, neuroimaging, early symptom recognition and early intervention. Dr. Dawson served on the Scientific Advisory Board for Cure Autism Now from 1996-2007.
She is principal investigator of Autism Speaks’ Baby Siblings project at the University of Washington. In addition, the University of Washington Autism Center was recently named an Autism Speaks’ Autism Treatment Network site, with Dr. Dawson as principal investigator. These grants will remain with the University of Washington, and pending approval by an independent review panel, will be assigned to new investigators.
Dr. Dawson has edited or authored a number of books about autism spectrum disorder, including Autism: Nature, Diagnosis, and Treatment; Human Behavior, Learning, and the Developing Brain;and A Parent’s Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism. She has been widely published in academic journals, including two articles in Archives of General Psychiatrythat presented evidence for autistic regression in about 25 percent of autism cases in the United States.
“Autism Speaks and the entire autism community will benefit from Dr. Dawson’s commitment and knowledge,” said Wright.
“Geri’s extensive experience in autism research and as a clinician will enable us to direct our funding toward the most promising areas of autism research, ensuring that we are investing in the areas most likely to lead us to answers”.
“My goal will be to accelerate the pace and scope of research so that effective treatments will be available to families, causes will be discovered, and eventually a cure will be found for autism,” said Dr. Dawson.
“The challenges are great, but I remain hopeful that we will witness important breakthroughs in the next several years that will make a real difference for persons with autism and their families.”
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.
ABOUT AUTISM SPEAKS
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, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years. 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 www.autismspeaks.org.
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 work. In 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.