Archived | Autism Treatment & Research Hearing: Statement of Bradley Whitford, Actor & Volunteer at Autism Speaks | Circa April 17, 2007 #NotAnAutisticAlly


Funding Autism Research

A hearing was held on progress made since the subcommittee’s April 17, 2007, hearing on autism in the United States.

Dr. Insel talked about autism research initiatives the the National Institutes of Health and various statistical analyses associated with research.

He was followed by a panel of parents who testified about their experiences with autistic children and treatments for the disease

View Video : https://www.c-span.org/video/?197628-1/autism-treatment-research


Senator Harkin. Thank you very much for your statement, and
thank you for taking your time to be here today, and for all of
your involvement in this issue.

Next, we’ll turn to Mr. Bradley Whitford, well-known
Broadway and TV actor, who is probably best-known for his role,
of course, on “West Wing”.

Mr. Whitford studied theater and English literature at
Wesleyan University. Dr. Favell went to that school.

Dr. Favell. Illinois.

Mr. Whitford. Oh no, Connecticut.

Dr. Favell. He went to the other one.

Senator Harkin. Different Wesleyan.

Dr. Favell. Yes.

Mr. Whitford. Different one.

Senator Harkin. Oh. Where was yours?

Mr. Whitford. Connecticut.

Senator Harkin. Oh, okay. Then earned a Master’s Degree in
Theater from the Julliard Theater Center, and again, Mr.
Whitford, thank you very much for being here, and for your
testimony, and please proceed.




STATEMENT OF BRADLEY WHITFORD, VOLUNTEER SPOKESPERSON, AUTISM SPEAKS

Mr. Whitford. Well, thank you, Senator Harkin, on behalf of
the acting President of Autism Speaks, I want to thank you for
your support on this issue.

Autism is not a disease that any beloved celebrity is going to come down with, and I know sometimes it seems as if celebrity has no place in discussions of priorities, but I hope you will forgive it, because these children have no voice, and it seems an appropriate use of the attention that actors get, to bring voice to them.

I came to this cause when my college roommate, movie
producer John Shestack, and his wife, Portia Iverson, had their
son, Dov, diagnosed with autism, and founded the amazing
advocacy group, Cure Autism Now, which is known, lovingly, as
CAN.

CAN recently merged with Autism Speaks, founded as you
know, by Bob and Suzanne Wright, and I just want to take a
moment to say, I know you’re aware of the urgency here, but I
want you to express to your colleagues the incredibly proactive
nature of the autism community. It’s the most heroic response
to personal devastation that I have seen in John’s family, to
not only take of their family, but to reach out and help
others. I know there is a great return on whatever investment
is made in autism research and treatment.

Autism Speaks is going to make sure that all Americans, and
certainly all of our elected officials understand the urgency
of this problem.

As my friend, John, has said many times, it’s as if 1 in
150 American children was being kidnapped. What would this
Congress do if that was the case? What must it do to deal with
these sad facts as they truly are?

I know the enormous burden of your high office means you
must bear a certain stoicism. I also know that most Senators
are parents, and grandparents.

Portia has written a book about Dov called Strange Son.

Here’s how she describes the kidnapping,

“It was his mind they came for. They came to steal his mind. Before anyone gave it a name, even before I knew what it was, I knew it was in our
house. They were very, very dark things, and there was no way
to get rid of them. When I closed my eyes, I felt their shadows
passing over me. I didn’t like to think about where they came
from, or where they were going. It was too frightening.

Dov was only a baby, and something was trying to steal him
away. I knew that that was what they did whenever I
accidentally fell asleep. Night after night, I sat beside his
crib. I knew he was slipping away from us, away from our world,
and there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening, and
there was nothing anybody could do, they told me. So, I did the
only things I could–I guarded him. Although I knew it would do
no good, because I could not guard his mind. Then, one day, it
happened. He was gone.”


* The “autism community” is not the Autistic Community. The autism community was created by non-Autistic led organizations and includes mostly parents, professionals and their friends. Most of what the world knows about autism is sourced from the non-Autistic “autism community.”


It is even more than just a tragedy for these kids, many of
whom, like Dov, we now know to be of extraordinary
intelligence, but trapped in bodies which do not allow them to
effectively communicate or interact with the rest of us. It’s
also a tragedy for our families and for our country.

A mother of an autistic child recently told me, through her
tears, that she had been forced to abandon her beloved life’s
work as a nurse, not mainly to give her more time with her
autistic child, but rather to purposely make her family poor
enough to qualify for the payment of some of the services her
child so desperately needs. She said, “The one thing I won’t
do, even though I have friends who have, is get divorced just
to qualify for additional benefits.”

Then there are the cases which don’t make national news,
but which echo loudly among people in the autistic community.
About once a month, somewhere in America, the father of an
autistic child kills the child, and himself, to end the
despair. (Note: he means the ‘autism community’)

Yet, despite all of this, there is some genuinely good
news. The unanimous passage at the end of last year of the
Combating Autism Act by both Houses of Congress can be an
historic turning point. The act contains, for the first time,
specific authorizations of appropriations to combat a single
disease, including bio-medical research, public awareness, and
consolidation and coordination of Federal efforts to ensure the
early diagnosis of kids with autism, so they can get–when it
matters most–the interventions that can give them the best
possible quality of life.

PREPARED STATEMENT

Now the burden falls on you. I know you have many important
matters before you. I also know that none is more important
than this. In no other case do you have the opportunity and
responsibility to fulfill the commitment made by this historic
piece of legislation. These are our most vulnerable citizens.
It is our obligation to make them realize their potential, and
to make their voices heard.

Thank you.

[The statement follows:]

Prepared Statement of Bradley Whitford

Chairman Harkin, ranking member Specter, members of the
subcommittee–it’s my great honor to be here today in the hope that my
years of training as an actor and stomaching countless audition
rejections have led me to some degree of celebrity which I can put to
use, helping you garner the support you need to fully fund the
appropriations authorized in the Combating Autism Act.

One in 10,000 kids will have autism. That’s what top scientists
would have told you little more than a decade ago. Then, it became
clear that number was ridiculous. And the CDC–with the support of this
subcommittee–started to really look at the prevalence of autism. 1 in
2,500, then 1 in 500. By the time the Children’s Health Act of 2000
became law, the estimate had become 1 in 250. A few short years ago,
the CDC said 1 in 166.

Now, just a couple of months ago, the best data ever collected
produced the scariest number yet–1 in 150–1 out of 94 American boys.

I came to this cause when my college roommate, movie producer Jon
Shestack
and his wife, Portia Iverson, had their son, Dov, diagnosed
with autism and founded the amazing advocacy group, Cure Autism Now,
known lovingly as “CAN”.

CAN recently merged with Autism Speaks, founded, as you know, by
Bob and Suzanne Wright–on behalf of their grandson. Now this strong
national organization is going to make sure that all Americans–and
certainly all of our elected officials–understand the urgency of this
problem.

As my friend Jon Shestack has said many times–it’s as if 1 in 150
American children was being kidnapped. What would this Congress do if
that was the case? What must it do to deal with these sad facts, as
they truly are?

I know the enormous burden of your high offices means you must
bring to bear a certain stoicism. I also know that most Senators are
parents and grandparents. Portia has written a book about Dov–Strange
Son. Here’s how she describes the kidnapping.

“It was his mind they came for. They came to steal his mind.

Before anyone gave it a name. Even before I knew what it was, I
knew it was in our house . . . They were very, very dark things. And
there was no way to get rid of them . . . When I closed my eyes, I felt
their shadows passing over me . . . I didn’t like to think about where
they came from or where they were going. It was too frightening. Dov
was only a baby and something was trying to steal him away. I knew that
was what they did whenever I accidentally fell asleep . . . Night after
night, I sat beside his crib. I knew he was slipping away from us, away
from our world. And there was nothing I could do to stop it from
happening. And there was nothing anybody could do, they told me. So I
did the only thing I could. I guarded him, although I knew it would do
no good, because I could not guard his mind.

And then one day, it had happened. He was gone.”

And it is even more than just a tragedy for these kids–many of
whom, like Dov, we now know to be of extraordinary intelligence, but
trapped in bodies which do not allow them to effectively communicate or
interact with the rest of us. It’s also a tragedy for families, and for
our country.

I recently spoke to one mom who told me–through her tears–that
she had been forced to abandon her beloved life’s work as a nurse–not
mainly to give her more time with her autistic child, but rather to
purposely make her family poor enough to qualify for the payment of
some of the services her child so desperately needs. She told me: “The
one thing I just won’t do–even though I have friends who have–is get
divorced just to qualify for additional benefits.”

Then there are the cases, which don’t make national news but which
echo loudly among people who “get it”–probably about once a month,
somewhere in America–the father of an autistic child kills the child
and himself, to end the despair.


Yet, despite all of this, there is some genuinely good news. The
unanimous passage, at the end of last year, of the Combating Autism
Act
, by both Houses of Congress can be a historic turning point. The
act contains, for the first time, specific authorizations of
appropriations to combat a single disease–including biomedical
research, public awareness and the consolidation and coordination of
federal efforts to ensure the early diagnosis of kids with autism (so
they can get, when it matters most, the interventions which can give
them the best possible quality of life).

Now the burden falls on you, on this subcommittee, to turn
Congress’ promise on autism into reality.

I know how many important matters come before you. I also know none
is more important that this. And in no other case, do you have the
opportunity and responsibility to fulfill the commitment made in a
historic piece of legislation.

I know you will do the right thing.

Thank you.



Note/Warning:

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


4 Replies to “Archived | Autism Treatment & Research Hearing: Statement of Bradley Whitford, Actor & Volunteer at Autism Speaks | Circa April 17, 2007 #NotAnAutisticAlly”

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