Archived | Autism Speaks: Inaugural Nantucket Walk Now for Autism | Circa August 25, 2007 #NotAnAutisticAlly

Inaugural Nantucket Walk Now for Autism

The inaugural Nantucket Walk Now for Autism took place at Jetties Beach on Saturday, August 25, 2007 and raised over $340,000.

Highlights of the morning’s program included a performance by Olivia Esposito and the Nantucket Theatre Workshop and special guest speaker Linda Roberts, who told of the particular challenges of raising an autistic child on an island. Emcee Bob Wright and his fellow Walk Chairs Suzanne Wright and Chris and Heather Kennedy thanked over 1,000 attendees for their support before leading the 1.85 mile Walk. 

Below a letter to the editor from Walk Committe Member Sydney Fee Barsanti which appeared in the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror

Letter to the Editor from Walk Committe Member Sydney Fee Barsanti appeared in the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror. 

Our Greatest Strength: Community Spirit

Thursday, August 30, 2007 Newspaper Edition

August 30, 2007

To the Editor:

Nantucket’s great strength doesn’t just come from it’s beaches, ocean or wide blue skies. It comes from the people in the community. Time after time, Nantucketers rally together to support others in need. On Saturday, Aug. 25, over 1,000 people came to Jetties Beach. They wore T-shirts, they collected money, and they walked around Brant Pont to raise awareness for autism.

My son, Rourke, is autistic. Crowds are usually a challenge for him, but he had a great time Saturday at the Walk. The first words he uttered early Sunday morning were “I wish there was a Walk for Autism every day.” Maybe he loved being interviewed by two TV stations. Maybe he loved seeing so many friends wearing his bright orange “Rourke’s Rockin’ Racers” T-shirts. Or maybe he just loved seeing so many people willing to accept him for who he is, without judging him. He has a hard road ahead of him, as does every child who is on the spectrum. But with the support, awareness and the thousand fellow travelers that walked non Saturday, his path should be a lot easier.

The Walk was a huge success for Autism Speaks, for the community, and for every island family touched by Autism. So thank you, Nantucket. Thanks to all of the businesses and individuals that gave over $330,000 to help these kids. Thank you, Bob and Suzanne Wright, for founding Autism Speaks and making this epidemic so public. The Wrights and Autism Speaks deserve a special thank-you for agreeing to fund an autism resource center here on Nantucket. Finally, thank you Nantucket for supporting and accepting these beautiful people who have autism.


* 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.”


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

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