Archived | Autism Speaks Execs Visit Qatar | Circa April 2007 #NotAnAutisticAlly

Autism Speaks Execs Visit Qatar 

Suzanne Wright, Andy Shih Speak at Forum in Qatar; Talks Open on Autism Speaks Program There

A visit by Autism Speaks leaders to an international forum in Doha, Qatar, has helped open discussions into an autism program in the tiny Mideast nation, one of the richest in the world. 

Autism Speaks Co-founder Suzanne Wright and Vice President of Scientific Affairs Andy Shih spoke at the 2nd Annual International Forum in Doha, along with Priscilla Natkins, executive vice president at the Ad Council.

The trio were invited by the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nassar Al-Missnad, wife of His Highness the Emir of Qatar.

“The cause of autism remains a mystery, there is no known cure, and experts disagree on what the best treatments are,” Wright told the gathering.

Speaking of her own family’s struggle to cope with the disorder, she added:

“We had no idea that we were in the middle of an urgent global health crisis affecting tens of millions of individuals worldwide.”

Wright said that while there is no international prevalence data from around the world – autism strikes one in every 150 U.S. children – she noted that “in the U.S., autism does not discriminate by geography, class, or ethnicity. So we have reason to believe that these prevalence rates will be similar across the globe.”

Later,Hassan Ali bin Ali, chairman of the Shafallah Center, told the forum: “I am pleased to announce, that under the direction of Her Highness, Sheikha Mozah Nasser al-Misnad, we are to commence discussions with Mrs. Wright and her team with the aim of collaborating on an “Autism Speaks” program in Qatar which could extend to the region and beyond making “Autism Speaks” a world wide program. This important collaboration demonstrates that the work of the forum has indeed been a success.”

Coverage from The Gulf Times newspaper in Qatar. (Below)

To learn more about Shafallah and the Forum please visit the website:

Autism is a global health crisis: expert

Founder of Autism Speaks, Suzanne Wright, along with Priscilla Natkins and Andy Shih

Staff Reporter

Published: Wednesday, 25 April, 2007, 08:43 AM Doha Time

AUTISM strikes without any discrimination of ethnicity, class, geography, gender or race, said Autism Speaks’ founder, Suzanne Wright, yesterday during the Second Annual International Forum on Children with Special Needs in the Shafallah Center.

Also speaking on the occasion were Ad Council’s executive vice president and director of client services, Priscilla Natkins and Autism Speaks’s chief science officer, Andy Shih.
Referring to autism as ‘an urgent global health crisis,’ Wright said that this fast growing, serious developmental disorder, has become an epidemic which is found in one of every 166 children in the United States.

“Though the causes are unknown, it can spread worldwide without any discrimination,” she explained.

The session, on the urgency of bringing Autism epidemic awareness through public service advertising, began by screening a documentary entitiled, ‘Autism everyday’
The daily lives of eight autistic children were screened, along with their parents’ apprehensions. The children, all above three to four years, required constant attention and were seen restless. 

The main symptom was ‘stimming’, a repetitive body movement that self-stimulates one or more senses in a regulated manner, some of them, being grinding teeth, jumping on toes, head banging and scratching. The child makes absolutely no eye contact and many of them stopped speaking after a particular age. Simple tasks like dressing, brushing and eating by themselves took hours and a mother agreed to this, saying, “it took me two years to teach my son to put his shirt on”. 

There have been instances when a child affected by autism had not slept for two to three weeks. 

Researches say that 80% of the time, parents with an autistic child end in a divorce, as they are equally helpless and cannot cope with the emotional, and financial issues.

[Autism Myth: The 80% divorce rate by non-Autistic parents of an autistic is a myth. This myth is promoted by Autism Speaks and organizations like them. The statement was one of many used to generate fear and raise donations. ]

Some of the measures taken for the care of children diagnosed with autism, are behaviour therapy, music therapy, physiotherapy and  speech therapy, most of which are done at home. 

The parents were apprehensive, as these treatments were expensive – as high as $100 per hour. 

Suzanne Wright, who herself has an autistic grandson, Criston, said that grandparents also play an extraordinary role in the care of autistic children. She exhorted that they should provide support to their children to raise the diagnosed child. 
Wright said that autism can be diagnosed when children do not exactly meet their milestones, or meet them at an unusually early time, such as sitting up before six months and walking before 10 months. 

Wright said that raising awareness was the corner stone of her mission.

Priscilla Natkins spoke about the role of media and and the effective public service campaigns that were raised. Some of the advertisements screened urged the audience to know more about autism, through their website. 

The campaigns launched have successfully increased parental knowledge. It was said that the earlier the awareness, the earlier intervention will help. The advertisement  council relied on pro bono services from advertising agencies and the media. 

The target audience was parents of newborn, and the secondary target being doctors and health care professionals. 

Andy Shih, spoke about the research they in this field. He also talked about the importance of  scientists all over the world linking and working together to find a cure for this neurological disorder.

Autism programme to be launched in Qatar

Staff Reporter 

Published: Thursday, 26 April, 2007, 08:56 AM Doha Time

SHAFALLAH Centre for Children With Special Needs is to launch an Autism Speaks Programme in Qatar in collaboration with Suzanne Wright, co-founder of the US-based Autism Speaks, Shafallah Center chairman Hassan Ali bin Ali announced yesterday.  

Speaking at the Second Annual International Forum for Children With Special Needs, which concluded in Doha yesterday, Ali said that Qatar’s Autism Speaks Programme could be extended by the Shafallah Center to the region and beyond.

“I am pleased to announce that, under the direction of HH Sheikha Mozah Nasser al-Misnad, we are to commence discussion with Mrs Wright and her team with the aim of collaborating on Autism Speaks Programme in Qatar,” he said. 

He hailed the forum as a big success, saying it had initiated several steps toward ensuring equal rights for those with special needs.

“We announced during the forum the commencement of our collaboration project with the Blue Law and Disabled Peoples’ International in producing a resource which will help people with disabilities know their rights and privileges. Also we launched the Best Buddies International initiative which aims to foster friendship between people with special needs and their typically developing peers,” he said. 

He also appreciated the efforts of the first ladies who took part and the forum’s panelists, saying that their outstanding presentations had been effective in conveying the message of this year’s conference.

“Raising awareness on the rights of the people with special needs around the world has been one of the main topics of the three-day event which has been effectively tackled,” he said.


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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