Autism Speaks | Lorri Unumb Honored by Professional Women in Advocacy | Nov. 21, 2014 #AutisticHistory #EndAutismSpeaks #BanABA


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

Lorri Unumb Honored by Professional Women in Advocacy

November 21, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — Lorri Unumb, Autism Speaks’ vice president for state government affairs, was honored for Excellence in a State Issue Campaign at the annual Professional Women in Advocacy conference held here. National Grassroots Advocacy Director Shelley Hendrix was one of three finalists for Excellence In A Campaign For Women Serving Women.

Over 180 women were nominated in five categories for the annual awards which included finalists from organizations such as AARP, Google, the American Bar Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, the ASPCA, MADD and other groups. Autism Speaks captured three of the nominations, with Shelley Hendrix nominated in two categories.

Lorri Unumb, an attorney based in Lexington, SC, led the fight for Ryan’s Law, named after her son with autism, in 2006 in South Carolina to require coverage of autism therapies by private insurers. She later joined Autism Speaks and has helped manage similar successful campaigns in 34 other states.

She has broadened her work to advocate with employers who self-fund their health plans to voluntarily add autism coverage. Approximately one-third of self-funded employers now voluntarily provide autism coverage, often acting after their home states enacts laws requiring coverage by fully funded health plans.

Hendrix was a finalist for the Excellence in a Campaign For Women Serving Women, “an effort wherein women advocate(s) successfully impacted the outcome of a problem or opportunity on behalf of other women.” Hendrix has built and mobilized Autism Speaks’ grassroots “army” of advocates that has played a prominent role in the enactment of state autism reform laws and which turned the tide in Congress in 2011 when the Combating Autism Act was reauthorized.

PWIA provides professional development and leadership training to women in all areas of advocacy, including federal, state and local government relations, public affairs, community relations, public policy, legislation, Congressional relations, community activism, political engagement and campaigns.

The Autism Community Is Not The Autistic Community

* The “autism community” is not the Autistic Community. The autism community was created by non-Autistic led organizations and includes mostly parents, professionals and their friends. Most of what the world knows about autism is sourced from the non-Autistic “autism 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 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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