[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Autism Speaks Urges Congress to Pass Vital Combating Autism Reauthorization Act
Bi-partisan Senate, House Bills Would Ensure Continued Federal Commitment to Address Nation’s Growing Autism Health Crisis
NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 26, 2011) – Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization, today urged Congress to act swiftly on newly introduced legislation that would reauthorize the Combating Autism Act (CAA) of 2006. Key components in the original landmark legislation will expire on September 30, threatening further federal support for critical research, services and treatment for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), which affect a staggering 1 in 110 American children – including 1 in 70 boys.
Reauthorization bills were introduced today with strong bi-partisan backing in the Senate by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Enzi (R-WY), and in the House by Autism Caucus Co-chairs Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA). Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL) and Scott Brown (R-MA) joined Menendez and Enzi as original co-sponsors of the Senate legislation. President Obama has pledged to sign a CAA reauthorization into law this year.
The CAA reauthorization would extend the legislation – which includes funding for critical research, services and treatment, and contains measures to ensure cost-efficient planning and coordination of these efforts – for three years at current funding levels. In addition, two related bills that would establish a National Autism Spectrum Disorders Initiative and increase services for people with autism were also introduced.
“The enactment of the original Combating Autism Act marked the beginning of the federal government’s commitment to addressing the autism health crisis in a significant and appropriate way,” said Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks. ”As the number of people diagnosed with autism in this country continues to rise, now is not the time for America to take a great leap backward.
“Bi-partisan support for any legislation today is rare, and reflects our elected leaders’ understanding of the severity of the challenges we face,” continued Wright. “It is imperative that CAA is reauthorized, so that the vital work in research, treatment and services can continue.”
The Combating Autism Act of 2006 was signed into law on December 19, 2006 by President George Bush following a nearly unanimous Congressional vote. The CAA made a clear statement by the U.S. government on the public health emergency posed by the growing prevalence of ASDs, and the lack of adequate research, effective treatments, and services to address this urgent and growing crisis.
The CAA authorized nearly $1 billion of federal spending on biomedical and treatment research on autism and required the development of an overall strategic plan for the intensification, expansion and better coordination of federal efforts designed to help persons with autism and their families.
Since the CAA became law in 2006, and because of the unprecedented profile it provided for autism as a public health priority as well as increasing funding, significant advances in the understanding of autism have been achieved. Some of these advances include:
o Detailed surveillance by the CDC of the increasing prevalence of ASD
o Identification of several autism susceptibility genes that are leading to drug discovery and earlier detection of infants at risk for ASD
o Improved methods for autism screening and recommendation for universal autism screening at well baby check-ups
o Development of effective early intervention methods for toddlers with autism
o Development of standards of care for medical and behavioral health, clinician guidelines and training, and new treatments for commonly associated medical conditions, such as sleep and gastrointestinal disorders
Important federal efforts would cease if the CAA is allowed to lapse. These include:
o Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) – a mechanism for coordinating efforts on autism research across federal agencies which includes public members and private research funders
o The mandate for an autism research strategic plan that is updated annually
o A requirement for accountability by the federal government of its efforts in improving the lives of persons with ASD through research
o Two intervention networks – physical health and behavioral health – that support the development of clinical care practice guidelines, clinician training and research on effective treatments
o Augmented support for the University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disability (UCEDD) to promote training and dissemination of best practices in ASD screening, diagnosis and treatment
o Specified levels of recommended research funding on autism’s causes, prevention, treatment and cure
To learn more about Autism Votes, an initiative of Autism Speaks focused on federal and state legislative advocacy, please visit www.autismvotes.org.
Autism is a complex neurobiological 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 110 children in the United States, and one in 70 boys. The prevalence of autism has increased 600 percent in the past two decades. 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 North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. Since its inception in 2005, Autism Speaks has made enormous strides, committing over $160 million to research and developing innovative new resources for families. The organization is 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. In addition to funding research, Autism Speaks has created resources and programs including the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network, Autism Speaks’ Autism Genetic Resource Exchange and several other scientific and clinical programs. Notable awareness initiatives include the establishment of the annual United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, which AutismSpeaks celebrates through its Light it Up Blue initiative. Also, Autism Speaks award-winning “Learn the Signs” campaign with the Ad Council has received over $258 million in donated media. Autism Speaks’ family resources include the Autism Video Glossary, a 100 Day Kit for newly-diagnosed families, a School Community Tool Kit and a community grant program. Autism Speaks has played a critical role in securing federal legislation to advance the government’s response to autism, and has successfully advocated for insurance reform to cover behavioral treatments in 26 states thus far, with bills pending in an additional 12 states. Each year Walk Now for AutismSpeaks events are held in more than 80 cities across North America. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.
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 Chairman and CEO of the Palm Beach Civic Association. He served as Vice Chairman of General Electric; and as the Chief Executive Officer of NBC and NBC Universal for more than twenty years. He also serves on the boards of the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, Mission Product, LLC, EMI Group Global Ltd and the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Suzanne Wright is a Trustee Emeritus of Sarah Lawrence College, her alma mater. Suzanne has received numerous awards, the Women of Distinction Award from Palm Beach Atlantic University, the CHILD Magazine Children’s Champions Award, Luella Bennack Volunteer Award, Spirit of Achievement award by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s National Women’s Division and The Women of Vision Award from the Weizmann Institute of Science. In 2008, the Wrights were named to the Time 100 Heroes and Pioneers category, a list of the most influential people in the world, for their commitment to global autism advocacy. They have also received numerous awards such as the first ever Double Helix Award for Corporate Leadership, NYU Child Advocacy Award, Castle Connolly National Health Leadership Award and The American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award. In May of 2010 they received Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degrees from St. John’s University in Queens and delivered the commencement address as the first married couple to be bestowed such an honor.
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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.