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


(April 28, 2008 – WASHINGTON, DC)  U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) unveiled new legislation today to support families dealing with autism spectrum disorders. Senator Menendez was joined by the groups Autism Speaks and the New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community (COSAC), as well as local parents of autistic children, in announcing the plan, which comes as Autism Awareness Month draws to a close.

The Helping HANDS for Autism Act is a three-part legislative package that includes a program to guide families seeking services and care, increased public awareness and housing for adults with ASD. At 1 in 94 children diagnosed with ASD, New Jersey has the highest rate in the nation.

“As a society, we have to make sure that our autistic citizens and their families never feel abandoned or ignored by the community,” said Senator Menendez. “Families dealing with autism should have a helping hand if they want one, and that’s the purpose of these programs – so that we can be there for them. New Jersey families are touched by autism spectrum disorders more often than families anywhere else, so any nationwide autism program like this will end up helping our state tremendously.”

“Each of the three titles included in this legislation offers an important opportunity to address an area of concern for families affected by Autism,” said Elizabeth Emken, Vice President, Government Relations, Autism Speaks. “Autism Speaks thanks Senator Menendez for his leadership in helping families face the challenges associated with autism”. 

Helping HANDS for Autism Act of 2008:

Title I: Autism Navigator

The Helping HANDS for Autism Act creates a grant program to provide autism navigator services to help families of individuals with autism spectrum disorders ‘navigate’ the complex, fragmented, and often confusing web of services and care that they need.  Navigators will help guide families to current health, education, housing and social services that are often available to individuals in the autism spectrum.  Too often families feel overwhelmed after diagnosis and often lost as to where to turn for help.  For example, this program will help connect families to important treatment options soon after diagnosis, help families identify education options, help coordinate individuals’ care and community support.  This program would provide a trained, knowledgeable hand to help families from the moment of diagnosis throughout their child’s development. 

Title II: Autism Awareness

This bill provides for the development, demonstration and dissemination of a standard curriculum for the training of first responders (police, fire departments, emergency medical technicians and other volunteers) in assisting individuals with autism and other cognitive behavioral disabilities.  It provides grants to states and local government to support training of first responders.  People with developmental disabilities, including autism, have up to seven times more contact with law enforcement officers than others, according to an article in the F.B.I. Law Enforcement Bulletin in April 2001.  That is why training is so important.  Something as simple as first responders turning off flashing lights and sirens on a police car could make the difference between a peaceful or chaotic encounter.  

Title III: Home of Their Own

This bill also addresses the serious lack of sufficient housing for adults with autism.  It creates a HUD task force comprised of appropriate national and state autism advocacy groups, community-based organizations and parents who are charged with developing a housing demonstration grant program for adults with autism.  The goal of the grant program is to provide individualized housing and services to adults with autism spectrum disorders.  

(Pictured above:  Senator Robert Menendez with Rebecca Shaffer, Legislative Assistant for Autism Speaks, and Christine Bakter, CAC for New Jersey)

More With Autism Votes


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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