Cure Autism Now | Medical Causes Personal for some Stars  | Sept. 10, 1997 #AutisticHistory

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

Medical Causes Personal for some Stars 

Article from USA TODAY

By Richard Peterson 

LOS ANGELES – Air Force One landed on movie screens in grand style: big plane, big star (Harrison Ford), big price tag ($85 million) and eventually, big ticket sales ($159.3 million so far). That’s great news for any movie executive, but for Air Force One producer Jon Shestack, the film’s success brings something more, something closer to his heart: a chance to use his moment in the limelight to focus attention on autism, a neurological disorder with no cure, which affects his 5-year-old son, Dov.

    Autism causes severe impairment in language and communication – half of the 400,000 Americans who have it connot speak. Complete with Hollywood types and floodlights, the Los Angeles movie premier of Air Force One raised $250,000 for Cure Autism Now, or CAN, a foundation set up by Shestack and his wife , Portia Iversen, to raise money and awareness. “I think of Air Force One as an $85 million trailer for a CAN benefit,” Shestack says.

   CAN, starting out with a handful of families in 1995, now has 10,000 members across the USA. Not content with just attending charity events, as most celebs do, a handful of them like Shestack and Iversen take their involvement in medical causes a giant step further. Driven by the illness and deaths of family and friends, or suffering from a disease themselves, these celebrities formed or joined medical charities with the same determination they used to build careers. 

   Taking on medical troubles has almost become a second job for celebrities like Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Saget, Joan Rivers, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Shelly Fabares. A famous figure can bring in millions of dollars for a charity, says Daniel Borochoff, president of the Washington-based American Institute of Philanthropy, and also can bring invaluable attention. “So many media outlets are celebrity driven,” he says. 

   Americans donate more than $150 billion a year to charities, Borochoff says. Continuing fund-raisers are crucial to causes such as muscular dystrophy, beneficiary of the annual Jerry Lewis telethons, and St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital, started by the late Danny Thomas and now headed by his daughter Marlo.

   “It would be a shame if we didn’t take advantage of a super-generous community,” Shestack says of the entertainment industry. The producer also takes advantage of his savvy movie-making skills, needed for lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill. Shestack testified before congress to make sure more resources are routed to the National Institute of Health for autistic research.

   “Jonathan’s strength is that he has a tremendous command of knowledge regarding autism,” says Carol Sprouse, a CAN advisor and physician at Children’s Medical Center in Washington, D.C. “And his driving force is to find the answers.”

   Shestack and Iversen first learned about autism in 1994, when Dov was diagnosed. Before that, Dov began showing symptoms of the illness, developing slower than pears and having staring spells. Their only son was lost in his own world, and the parents stood by helpless, unable to pull him out.

   “When we first found out, it was so shocking that we didn’t tell anyone for six months,” Shestack says. Soon after the diagnosis, Dov began several therapy treatments and slow progress was made; he eventually learned to nod his head and perform simple tasks.

   With new developments in gene therapy, mental disorders are the next frontier for researchers, Shestack says. “There will be a whole new generation of treatment for them in the next 15 years. I really believe that.”


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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