[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
$100 Million Challenge Kicks Off Global “Decade for Autism”
Autism Speaks Gathers First Spouses and Autism Experts for a Forum on the Global Autism Crisis
NEW YORK, NY (September 22, 2009) – Autism Speaks, the world’s largest autism research and advocacy organization gathered more than 150 First Spouses and dignitaries today for the Second Annual World Focus on Autism. Suzanne Wright, Autism Speaks Co-founder and event host, announced the $100 million “Decade for Autism” initiative challenging nations around the world to fund autism research, awareness campaigns and support services for families in their countries.
The international coalition in attendance was one of the largest gatherings ever of First Spouses, a striking endorsement of global efforts to raise autism awareness. The group, which included Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, Wife of the United Nations Secretary General, Ms. Thérèse Rein, Wife of the Prime Minister of Australia and Ms. Maria Kaczyńska, First Lady of Poland, among many others, heard from a world-class panel of experts from the scientific community and discussed an international pathway to raise global awareness and promote research into this non-discriminative disorder.
In her opening remarks, event chair Mrs. Ban Soon-taek welcomed the international group on behalf of her husband UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stating, “We meet here not as officials but as parents, grandparents and supporters of families. Our mission is to spread the word about autism’s warning signs and to promote treatment options and research.”
Announcing the “Decade for Autism,” Mrs. Wright stated that it “is the proposed timeframe in which we, the members of global autism community, come together to solve the mysteries of this heartbreaking disorder.” Calling for action, she challenged the international delegation convened, “to commit to raising 100 million dollars to fund autism. Working together, all of us who care about this issue can reach this goal by 2020. All we need is your commitment to start funding autism-related research and services in your country.”
Bob Wright, Autism Speaks Co-founder, shared some of the major accomplishments of the past year’s Global Autism Public Health Initiative and stated that “Autism Speaks has already made a one million dollar commitment to speed our international collaboration efforts, in the areas of science, research and epidemiology. As part of this, we are supporting screening and diagnostic instrument translations in at least eight foreign languages, including Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Korean. Combined, the eight languages are spoken by an estimated 1.75 billion people worldwide.”
Academy Award-nominated director Alfonso Cuarón and Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer Billy Mann unveiled a video they created especially for this event, called “I Am Autism.” The powerful short film combines footage of individuals with autism and their families from around the world with a poem written by Mr. Mann read by a multitude of voices to show the global face of autism.
“Autism impacts all countries, no matter their size or resources,” said Hassan Ali bin Ali, Chairman of the Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs in the State of Qatar. “Through the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah, the Patron of Shafallah, we are doing our best to address the stigma of autism in our region and push the envelope of scientific research to benefit children the world over. The Shafallah Center’s efforts over the next 10 years will result in an investment pledge of approximately $9.8 million dedicated to the ‘Decade for Autism.’”
Other speakers at the World Focus on Autism included: Atty. Jose Miguel T. Arroyo, First Gentleman of the Philippines; and Dr. Helia Molina Milman, Chief of Public Health Policy and promotion, Ministry of Health, Republic of Chile. Additionally, a panel of autism experts that spoke included Dr. Andy Shih, Autism Speaks’ Vice President of Scientific Affairs, Dr. Liri Berisha, President of the Albanian Children’s Foundation and wife of the Albanian Prime Minister, Dr. Young Shin Kim of the Yale Child Study Center, Dr. Hatem El Shanti of the Shafallah Genetics Medical Center, and Dr. Ezra Susser of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by behavioral challenges. Autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The prevalence of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown.
About Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. Autism Speaks funds more than $30 million each year in new autism research, in addition to supporting the Autism Treatment Network, Autism Genetic Resource Exchange, Autism Clinical Trials Network, Autism Tissue Program and a range of other scientific and medical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and an award-winning, multi-year national public service advertising campaign with the Ad Council. Autism Speaks’ family services efforts include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit and the distribution of community grants to local service providers. Its government relations department, through its Autism Votes initiative, has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the federal government’s response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to require insurers to cover medically-necessary autism therapies. Each year, Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism Speaks fundraising events are held in more than 70 cities across the country, as well as Canada and the United Kingdom.
About the Co-Founders
Autism Speaks was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is Senior Advisor at Lee Equity Partners and served as Vice Chairman, General Electric, and Chief Executive Officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the board of directors of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, RAND Corporation and the New York Presbyterian Medical Center. Suzanne Wright has an extensive history of active involvement in community and philanthropic endeavors, mostly directed toward helping children. She serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations and is also Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.
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 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.