WTAF?!? | Thought Leadership & Innovation Foundation Announces Inaugural Winners of its Innovation Visionaries and Innovation Heroes Awards | TACA is NOT A HERO #BanAutismQuackery #AutisticHistory

TLI Foundation Think Lead Innovate

[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

Thought Leadership & Innovation Foundation Announces Inaugural Winners of its Innovation Visionaries and Innovation Heroes Awards

MCLEAN, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Thought Leadership & Innovation Foundation (TLI), a not-for-profit organization that works at the nexus of science, technology and public health, announces the recipients of its 2021 awards recognizing individuals and organizations that have displayed significant achievements in healthcare innovation:

  • Innovation Visionaries Award, honoring a company or organization making a difference for all stakeholders in the ecosystem, including clinicians, therapists and researchers, was bestowed to The Autism Community in Action (TACA) for providing education, support and hope to families living with autism.
  • Innovation Heroes Award, honoring individuals who exemplify the spirit of innovation in healthcare, was bestowed to limb loss survivor Ariel Rigney, MPA, a self-proclaimed nonprofit “nerd,” athlete, world traveler and adventure-seeker.

Reed Hartley, executive director, TLI, explains, “These awards demonstrate and illustrate the power of individuals and organizations to significantly impact lives. We are proud to recognize their achievements and applaud their efforts to improve the patient experience and outcomes. They also provide shining examples of how to effectively support clinicians, therapists and researchers who serve patient populations that need better access to quality care.”

Honorees were chosen based upon an individual’s efforts on behalf of patients or an organization’s demonstrated expertise for developing novel and practical applications of an innovative new approach, service, human-centered design or transformation process.

Hartley underscores the achievements and advocacy programs of TACA, saying, “TACA implements so many outstanding services, conferences, mentorships and resources to support the autism community. This organization demonstrates its ongoing commitment to promoting early intervention and improving treatment and outcomes for autism patients and their families. We congratulate the leadership and entire TACA team on celebrating its 20th anniversary of working to change the lives of individuals living with autism.”

At the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, TACA immediately transitioned to virtual meetings, increased online resources and enhanced parent support activities. They conducted 594 virtual meetings, with attendance of 18,000+ people, and expanded reach by 132%. Hope & Help, TACA’s private Facebook support group grew to over 12,000 members–a 21% increase over 2019. They also responded via phone and online to 36,892 requests for support and awarded $195,588 in scholarships to families for medical and resource needs, representing 14% of the TACA budget. As one mother stated, because of TACA’s support during the pandemic her previously non-verbal son walked into his first day of school, greeted the teacher with “good morning” and put on his mask. He had also been potty-trained and had learned all of his letters and sounds.

Recognized as an Innovation Hero, Rigney is passionate about advocating for amputee rights and access to care. Hartley notes, “Ariel has demonstrated a transformative influence as she continues to inspire by her tireless efforts to raise amputee care awareness.”

Her efforts have ranged from volunteering as a counselor at summer camps for kids with limb loss to working as a patient model to help train new physical and occupational therapists. By working with amputee patients, testing new prosthetic feet and technologies in the lab, and providing peer support to new limb loss patients, Ariel is a true hero. Rigney is honored to be a “loud and proud” advocate for her amputee community.

She is currently partnering with Range of Motion Project (ROMP) to raise money for amputees who lack access to prosthetic devices and care. She is also in training to attempt to summit Cotopaxi, a 19,347-foot volcano in Ecuador, in fall 2022. As she works to push her mind, body and prosthetic leg to the limit for this enormous feat, her focus is clear: show people that with proper access to prosthetics and care, amputees like her can achieve almost impossible goals.

For more information about becoming a TLI partner or to be considered for an award, contact the foundation.

About TLI

The Thought Leadership and Innovation Foundation (TLI) is a not-for-profit organization that works at the nexus of science, technology and public health, innovating for superior prevention, treatment and outcomes for those facing life-altering medical diagnoses. TLI helps patients across the country and around the world find better healthcare outcomes. Visit www.thoughtfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Nicole Dufour 
CPR Communications 
201.641.1911 x 54


I’m Eve Reiland, an Autistic person and parent to Autistics in California. I’m shocked and dismayed that you are granting an award to TACA on behalf of Autistic people without ever conferring with us.

TACA is an incredibly harmful organization responsible for promoting autism myth, propaganda, gaslighting vulnerable parents and people and harming Autistics in our nation and worldwide.

It’s inexcusable to grant an ‘autism award’ as a non-Autistic to another non-Autistic and never once look into their history and real legacy for Autistic people. These people are not autism heroes – they are promoters of autism myth and pushers of autism pseduoscience and quackery that’s harmed and killed. 

How did you decide on TACA and how did you come to believe you could grant them this award in the name of Autistics? How many Autistics did you contact and confer with to come to this selection? Why do you think you’re voice matters more than mine, my children or my people? 

Learn Autistic History and connect with Autistic people and our community – you have promoted such harm by doing this and it’s shocking and immoral. 
Here’s the real legacy of TACA and their autism organizations network: 
An Autistic Perspective of Anti-Vaxxed, Miracle Mineral Solution and Other Quackery


And here’s your press release posted for Autistics to find out how you spoke for us and over us: https://internationalbadassactivists.org/2021/12/15/wtaf-thought-leadership-innovation-foundation-announces-inaugural-winners-of-its-innovation-visionaries-and-innovation-heroes-awards-taca-is-not-a-hero-banautismquackery-autistichistory/

What are you going to do to resolve the harm you’ve caused here? I’m asking as an Autistic person, Autistic parent and Autistic Elder – how are you going to do better?


Eve Reiland

Founder of InternationalBadassActivists.org

Co-founder of The Autistic Cooperative

Autistic parent to Autistics since ‘93

Authentic Autistic vintage ‘72



More With TACA


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.

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