Cure Autism Now | Sails Away For Autism Research | Sept. 24 – 27 1998 #AutisticHistory

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

Sails Away For Autism Research 
America’s Cup Challengers and Defenders
Race ID48s for the CAN Cup

September 24-27, 1998   The world’s sailing elite gathered in San Francisco, California to race head-to-head for individual glory, but also to work together toward the common goal of finding a cure for autism. 

America’s Cup defenders and challengers sailed in the “One Design 48” ocean racers at the St. Francis Yacht Club’s Big Boat Series for the benefit of CAN, The Cure Autism Now Foundation.

“Autism has been ignored and misunderstood for over 40 years, but now we know there is tremendous potential for treatment and a cure,” said John Bertrand, head of the Annapolis, Maryland-based One Design.

“We believe CAN is addressing the issue of finding a cure in the most organized and business-like way possible, and they are compassionate about it,” he added. “This race is an opportunity to raise awareness about autism as a disease, and CAN as an organization.”

Among the celebrity guests crewing on boats was CAN Honorary Board Member, Anthony Edwards, the Emmy-nominated actor who portrays Dr. Mark Green on the hit television series “ER.” 

In a disappointing turn of events, the wind failed to blow in San Francisco on Sunday which made it necessary to cancel the final showdown race of the Big Boat series. The series leader John Risley and the USA 48007 “Numbers” was declared the class winner of the series. “Numbers” was skippered by reigning America’s Cup champion Russell Coutts, who with Risley was sailing his first 1D48 regatta. This series was hotly contested, with only 2.8 average points separating the first and eighth-place teams.

Anthony Edwards presented the second annual CAN Cup, a perpetual trophy donated to support The Cure Autism Now (CAN) Foundation to the “Numbers” team. Edwards thanked the class for its support for this worthy cause. 

“We’re inspired and thankful to see our CAN banners flying here on all these boats, and hopeful that it’s help spread more awareness about this terrible disease,” said Edwards, shown standing with CAN founders Jon Shestack and Portia Iverson, and John Bertrand of 1D48.

On the Friday evening before the weekend of racing, CAN hosted a fund-raiser cocktail party at the St. Francis Yacht Club. San Francisco 49er Merton Hanks and his wife Marva Hanks were in attendance at the club for this event. 

The Hanks have a 4 year old daughter, Milan, who has been diagnosed with autism. 

“I admired the fact that CAN takes an aggressive stance towards getting our autistic children into recovery,” said Marva Hanks. “They looked at the options available to us and have said that is not enough! Let’s find a cure!”

Marva Hanks is also currently sponsoring a lecture series in the San Francisco Bay Area to provide information to parents and teachers regarding intervention and treatment strategies for children with autism.

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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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