[Note: This article is for archive purposes in Autistic History. It’s to illustrate the the voices heard during this era. It’s to show how the Wrights, co-founders of Autism Speaks, and pals used their privilege purposefully to drown out the voices of the Autistic community and others.]
One family’s struggle with autism
School systems, families overwhelmed as cases increase
By Dawn Fratangelo
Correspondent NBC News
Updated: 7:57 p.m. ET April 19, 2004
It’s a typical morning at the McGuire’s in Chicago. Then again, nothing has really been typical for two years now — not since Danny was diagnosed with autism.
Danny’s mother Karen McGuire fights off tears when she talks about how hard it’s been on her family. “Every day is a fight,” she says.
Karen and her husband, Dan, seem to be fighting for just about everything — like a better pre-school program with therapy known to help autistic children.
By law, the state must provide an appropriate and free education for Danny. One offer from the district, a school more than an hour away, is something unacceptable to the McGuires.
“This is putting a three-year-old, non-verbal child on a bus — who’d never been — never done that before. I couldn’t do it,” added Karen.
So, a revolving door of therapists comes to the house, using something called “applied behavior analysis” or A.B.A. And it’s working. Danny is using words and motor skills he didn’t have a year ago. But the cost last year, out of their own pocket, was $60,000.
That’s more than Dan makes as a police officer. So, colleagues and friends hold fundraisers. Without those fundraisers, Dan McGuire says they would “absolutely not” have been able to give Danny the therapy he’s getting.
The McGuires are struggling in a system overburdened by an increase in the number of children being diagnosed with autism. Most experts believe it’s not due to more children being born with autism, but to greater awareness at earlier ages.
Still, there is no agreement on how much school districts nationwide should spend on autistic children or the type of therapy. Some offer better programs for toddlers, while others concentrate on pre-school and beyond.
One public school in Brick Township, N.J., is deciding to meet the growing demand by increasing autism classes from just 4 to 14 in a few years time.
“We really hope to show other school districts that you can offer rather intense and successful programs for these children and offer them close to home in a mainstream class,” said Mary Ann Ceres, assistant school superintendent of Brick Township.
But with parents moving from out of state and even to Canada, the school has no more room.
Meanwhile, the McGuires are considering a drastic move: a separation.
Karen and their three children would re-locate an hour away so Danny can attend the public school that offers free therapy. “And that’s what he needs. He needs a chance to thrive. And I know he can,” says Karen.
The McGuires are one family, doing all it can to unlock an autistic world.
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.