[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
New Center for Autism and the Developing Brain Breaks Ground in Westchester
APRIL 5, 2012
With sledgehammers in hand, they symbolically knocked down the first of what promises to be many barriers in the fight against autism.
On April 4th, key stakeholders and elected officials, alongside Weill Cornell Medical College leadership, packed the gymnasium of the building that will soon become the new Center for Autism and the Developing Brain at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell & Columbia to watch as the Center’s leaders kicked off construction of the new facility with a groundbreaking ceremony.
Slated to open in early 2013 on the Hospital’s Westchester campus, the 11,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Center is a joint initiative of NewYork-Presbyterian and its affiliated medical schools Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, in close collaboration with the New York Center for Autism. The Center will engage in cutting-edge research, and provide education and comprehensive services to people with autism spectrum disorders at every stage of life, from infancy through adulthood.
“This is such an amazing opportunity for me, for all of us, to build a place for high-quality clinical care for our children and adults with autism, absolute high quality educational services and translational research to find out what to do in the future,” said Dr. Catherine Lord, a leading autism authority, the Center’s director and a faculty member at Weill Cornell’s Department of Psychiatry.
The opening of the new Center and its mission is extremely timely. New estimates on the prevalence of autism, released in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggest that the disorder is 25 percent more common than previously thought. The CDC now estimates that one out of 88 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder, whereas the previous estimate was one in 110 children.
The reason for this increase is now the looming question. As experts seek answers, they hope their research will pioneer innovative therapies that will transform autism diagnosis and treatment in the future while providing exceptional clinical care to those affected by the disorder today.
“We’ve got to get to the bottom of it,” said Rep. Nita Lowey, who represents New York’s 18th Congressional District, which encompasses Westchester County. “With increased research and increased education opportunities and better services, we can make a difference.”
Finding answers is the overarching goal of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain.
“We intend this center to be a beacon for the care of children with autism, provide vital translational research and be a beacon of hope for families of children with autism,” said Dr. Steven J. Corwin, CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
The New York Center for Autism, led by Laura Slatkin and Ilene Lainer — with a generous contribution from Marilyn and James Simons of the Simons Foundation — has provided essential guidance and support for the formation of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain. Autism Speaks, North America’s largest autism research and advocacy organization, founded by Hospital Trustee Bob Wright and his wife, Suzanne, provided additional support for the Center.
“I’m thrilled that we have completed our goal and dream to build a state-of-the-art autism center,” said Mrs. Slatkin during the ceremony, thanking every person and partner who helped along the way.
The Center will streamline the process from diagnosis to treatment and maximize the usefulness of information gained from multi-level assessments. Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders is still an imprecise science that Dr. Lord and many other experts, hope to improve. Dr. Lord has already pioneered the development of tools that have become the gold standard in autism diagnosis, and she will continue to refine them in the clinical environment of the new Center.
The Center will provide vanguard diagnostics and intensive short-term treatment, as well as longer-term follow-up. As a referral hub, the facility will build on resources and programs already available, linking patients and families with the services they need and forging connections among families, schools and community organizations.
The Center has a vigorous research and training program, conducting collaborative basic and clinical research with more than seven institutions, including the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University Medical Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. DNA samples from patients are routinely shared with consortia of geneticists in an effort to identify genetic biomarkers of autism.
Patients will also receive a combination of expanded applied behavior analysis and other targeted therapies to improve social communication and motor and adaptive skills. The interdisciplinary staff will include psychiatrists, psychologists, speech and language therapists, behavior and education specialists, social workers, and occupational therapists, along with consultants from other areas of medicine.
“Anyone who has any connection to the community, whatsoever, knows families who have been touched by autism,” said White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach. “Having this new facility to help people with this disorder is a wonderful thing.”
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.