Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, Bradley Whitford, Tom Insel, Bob Wright, Marguerite Colston and other Autism organizations and influencers speak at the Autism Treatment and Research Hearing about controversial therapies in 2007.
Autistics weren’t included.
There was a lot happening back in 2007. In the United States, the combating autism act had just been signed in Dec. of 2006. Some months later there was a Senate hearing to talk about the funding needs of this act, and where that money should be allocated.
This is where the Autism Wars go from ugly to OMFG. Not long after this hearing, an article is published about the Wright family having a falling out over their views on autism. This family fight affected every Autistic on the planet. It’s still affecting us today. More on that later. I’ll share about this in an upcoming wake. Bake. Caffeinate. Episode.
At the hearing, Dr. Tom Insel talked about autism research initiatives the the National Institutes of Health (NIH) 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.
APRIL 17, 2007
Autism Treatment and Research
Witnesses testified about the prevalence of autism and policy implications for health care in the U.S. Among the topics they addressed were combating autism, available treatments, research into the disease, and coordinating a federal response to the problem.
View Original Testimony Video : https://www.c-span.org/video/?197628-1/autism-treatment-research
In this clip:
Senator Tom Harkin introduces Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of the CDC.
Gerberding talks about the Combating Autism Act and the three main responsibilities for the CDC:
- Autism Prevalence (Population estimate of Autistics)
- Autism Research
- Autism Awareness
Gerberding inaccurately referred to autism as a disease 6 or 7 times in testimony. Autism is NOT a disease. Autism is a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.
Discover magazine gets more representation in legislation than Autistic people. Gerberding and Senator Harkin refer to “Autism: It’s Not Just In The Head.”
The Autism Speaks bought Discover Magazine article, placed by Autism Society of America, focused on myth, controversial therapies and some outright quackery is mentioned by Gerberding in their testimony.
The statement by Gerberding about white children are more likely to be autistic is false. This is a symptom of white privilege and better access to doctors and healthcare skewing the reports.
Gerberding’s statement is speaking to ‘partners’ in their efforts. These ‘partners’ are non-Autistic parent-founded and parent-led autism organizations. Many of these organizations involved at this point are also believers and pushers of the vaccine autism myth. They want funding for their pseudoscience experiments and controversial therapies (including ABA).
All of these autism organizations were very aware that Autistics were protesting their goals, agendas, interference in our healthcare, and the future they wanted for us. These organizations were very purposeful in including only the ‘autism community’ in their work and statements. These organizations are very closely networked and partnered with government initiatives and projects. These organizations effectively created a barrier between Autistics and parents of Autistics. And they locked out Autistics participating in a meaningful manner in this hearing and in other legislation that involves our lives and persons.
When these parent-founded organizations refer to a ‘consensus in the autism community’ it doesn’t include us. The ‘autism community’ is a vastly different community than the Autistic community. These reps never speak to that in their statements and work. These organization’s founders and spokespeople simply speak as if Autistics don’t exist in a meaningful manner. They refer to us a disease, not a people. They speak as if we’ll never hear them or understand them. And no wonder so many people think they can “cure autism.” Even the CDC fails Autism 101 at this point.
Every time the ‘autism community’ is mentioned – the speakers of these orgs are purposefully excluding the Autistic community and voices. The ‘autism community’ is a community comprised of parents (themselves) and their young Autistic children plus some professionals and educators. The ‘autism community’ excludes most Autistic parents of Autistics as well. Our voices hold no value with the ‘autism community’ unless we’re parroting these organizations agendas and narrative.
Autism is NOT a disease.
Gerberding also lends creditability to the Discover Magazine article baloney by speaking about it and future ‘causation’ studies. What a mess. A mess Autistics and real allies are still trying to clean up today.
Senator Harkin and Gerberding both speak about autism like Autistic people can’t hear them. Our voices are not included this hearing and we’re excluded purposefully by these non-Autistic parent-led organizations. Worse yet, as this hearing shows, these orgs influence every aspect of our lives in legislation, initiatives and policies that involve Autistic people.
For the record: Vaccines DO NOT cause autism.
Autism is NOT a disease
CDC, in collaboration with a number of national partners–the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),Autism Speaks (Cure Autism Now and the National Alliance for Autism Research, which have both recently merged with Autism Speaks), the Autism Society of America (ASA), First Signs, the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), and the Organization for Autism Research (OAR)–launched a national public
awareness campaign in 2004 called Learn the Signs. Act Early. The
campaign aims to educate parents, health care professionals, and child
care providers about child development, including the early signs of
autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities, and to
encourage developmental screening and intervention.
Read full text of Dr. Julie Gerberding’s testimony :