[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
Mayor Menino hosts first ever Autism Summit in the City of Boston
Summit launches Mayor’s Autism Initiative during National Autism Awareness Month
Mayor Thomas M. Menino today welcomed over 120 key stakeholders, including parents, advocates, educators, and public health officials, to the first ever Autism Summit in the City of Boston during National Autism Awareness Month. The invited guests, representing a wide range of City agencies and departments, parents, and health care providers, participated in the day-long summit with the goal of strengthening resources and services for families and children with Autism Spectrum Diagnoses (ASD). With the goal of ensuring that Boston, as a city, is supportive and sensitive to the needs of families impacted by autism, Mayor Menino also launched the Mayor’s Autism Initiative. The initiative seeks to develop a unique model of care for families and children affected by ASD. As one concrete step we can take right away, the Mayor announced today that he will be asking the state legislature to pass House Bill 3809, an Act Relative to Insurance Coverage for Autism, which would mandate private insurance coverage for critical autism-related services. The bill, similar to those passed in 12 other states, will help provide best practice services to children with autism and recognize that the care of children with autism is a shared responsibility across all sectors.
“We can’t afford to view autism simply as a public health issue or simply as an education issue,” Mayor Menino said. “In order to meet our shared responsibility, we need to broaden our understanding of autism, and start looking at how we deliver a continuum of services to families of children with autism. Everyone plays a role, from government, to community organizations, to the private sector. As a community, we have an obligation to help families so that they don’t face the challenges of care alone.”
Today’s Autism Summit comes on the heels of a new analysis of national data by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) that demonstrates that children with ASD face more difficult challenges than children with other disabilities. The research shows that children with ASD are more affected in their everyday learning and play activities than children with other conditions, and families are ultimately left paying for the significant costs associated with autism. For example, according to the BPHC analysis, about 25% of Massachusetts families of children with special needs have to cut back or quit work to care for their children. However, this figure rises to 45% for families of children with ASD.
Over the last 10 years, the Boston Public Schools estimates a 300% increase in the number of children diagnosed as being on the spectrum of autism. Although the overall number of children with ASD in the Boston Public Schools remains relatively low, 1 out of every 150 children nationally is diagnosed with ASD. The goals of today’s Summit included: 1) Creating a shared vision and roadmap for a system of care; 2) Raising public awareness; 3) Establishing an advisory team to advance the work of the Mayor’s Autism Initiative; and 4) Generating a report to be broadly circulated that documents the work of the Summit. Dr. Susan Wilczynski, Executive Director of the National Autism Center, provided the keynote speech.
Mayor Menino’s Autism Initiative seeks to improve the City of Boston’s educational and public health systems of care and services for children with Autism Spectrum Diagnoses and their families. The initiative will bring together key stakeholders in order to create a unique, citywide system of care for children and youth with ASD. Starting with a comprehensive review of current services in Boston and of findings concerning the daily experience of Boston families raising children with autism and related conditions, the initiative will look to national guidelines and best practice models to find opportunities for improvement.
Goals of the Mayor’s Autism Initiative include:
- Optimal developmental outcomes for Boston children with ASD, in terms of educational achievement, social integration and potential for adult autonomy in areas including employment and independent living;
- Reduced burden on families raising children with ASD, resulting in improved employment options for parents, decreased family break-up and reduced parent stress;
- A shared culture that respects families by recognizing the need for a family-centered approach, and maximizes integration across sectors and agencies;
- Development of state of the art programs in Boston Public School settings to reduce the need to send children out of the community;
- Inclusion of children with ASD in all aspects of community life throughout the City of Boston; and
- An outstanding program that will be recognized and replicated throughout the state and country.
These broad, visionary goals will be operationalized over time as objectives for the Mayor’s Autism Initiative, focusing on specific elements of the service system. Relevant elements include, state-of-the-art screening and diagnosis, early intervention, access to a medical home, early childhood education, k-12 education with specialized services as needed, after-school and community activities, family supports, and transition to adult living and post-secondary education or employment.
The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic Community
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.