[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]
And Justice For All in N.Y.’ Albany Times-Union
June 27, 2012
ALBANY (June 27, 2012) — The Albany Times-Union published “And Justice For All in N.Y.,” an opinion piece authored by Autism Speaks Co-founder Bob Wright and Clarence Sundram, a special advisor to Governor Andrew Cuomo, lauding New York’s Protection of People with Special Needs Act as a national model. Read below.
And justice for all in N.Y.
By CLARENCE SUNDRAM AND BOB WRIGHT, Commentary
Published 12:42 am, Sunday, June 24, 2012
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo took office in 2011, he inherited a human services system riddled with problems. The people the state was charged with looking after — individuals with developmental disabilities, special needs and other vulnerabilities — were far too often facing abuse and mistreatment at the hands of the very workers who were responsible for their well-being. New York, which in the past had led the nation in its quality of care for this community, was clearly not living up to its responsibility to protect the vulnerable people in its care.
New York is hardly alone in wrestling with the problems of abuse and neglect in its human service systems. States all across the country are experiencing similar problems, and most are responding, if at all, with limited and specific fixes.
While Cuomo took a series of immediate steps to stem the crisis, including bringing in a new commissioner at the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and commencing a series of preliminary reforms, he recognized that more had to be done.
Past attempts had left New York with a patchwork quilt of inconsistent laws and ineffective regulations across the six state agencies that operate or regulate human service systems serving persons with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, alcoholism or substance abuse problems, children in residential facilities, and residents of adult care facilities. These agencies serve more than a million people each year, yet neither they nor the state have had a dedicated approach for protecting those they serve, until now.
The governor proposed and the Legislature has enacted the most sweeping reform in the country of systems to protect vulnerable persons from abuse and neglect. This legislation, which creates a Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, has the promise of repairing the torn fabric of the safety net for vulnerable people. The governor’s approach takes a fresh look at the common obligation to keep vulnerable people safe and replaces the multiple and inconsistent rules that currently exist in separate silos with a simpler set of common standards.
It simplifies the reporting process by creating a 24/7 hot line staffed by trained professionals, including experienced law enforcement officers, to receive reports of suspected abuse from families, staff or the public. The law also establishes the position of special prosecutor, who will have concurrent jurisdiction with local district attorneys, to prosecute crimes of abuse and neglect that often languish due to their complexity.
Instead of the narrow and limited registries of offenders currently in place, it creates a comprehensive statewide Vulnerable Person’s Central Register, which will record findings of serious or repeated abuse and bar the responsible individuals from ever working again with vulnerable persons in the state system. Significantly, the governor’s bill also creates an unprecedented level of transparency by extending to private agencies the principles of the freedom of information law that have heretofore been limited to government.
The new law also aims to provide fair treatment to the direct support staff who are hardworking and dedicated people. The law supports these employees by providing a common code of conduct, establishing training programs and creating a mechanism for workers to report systemic failures at program sites that are often a precursor to incidents of abuse and neglect. This will give them a real stake in reporting problems and having the investigatory process work.
For a community that has never had powerful interests backing it and has had to fight just to be heard, this is a unique moment. For those who have been fighting for years for these type of sweeping reforms, this is a watershed moment. We have a rare opportunity to use New York’s reforms as an example for other states to follow, and make the actions taken here the new standard of justice for people with special needs across the country.
Until now, no state has ever taken such dramatic steps to protect vulnerable citizens. This is a community that has been waiting for government to deliver on its most fundamental responsibility: to protect and hold accountable those who violate the rights of others. There are cases and crimes that need unique attention and, when they get lost or ignored, leave vulnerable people trapped in the worst circumstances. New York is again setting national example in fulfilling this responsibility. Now we need other states to follow New York’s lead.
Sundram is Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s special adviser on vulnerable persons. Wright is co-founder of Autism Speaks.
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.