Dr. Dankner. Honored committee members, fellow panel participants and members of the audience, I feel privileged today to appear before this committee to share my perspectives on autism, foremost as a parent but also from the additional perspectives as a pediatric infectious disease specialist and a scientist engaged in clinical research and evidence-based medicine. My daughter Natalie, who is over there, is now nearly 13 years old, has autism, and has taught my family and me a lot about ourselves and how the world around us deals with individuals who appear different from the norm. She has been both a joy and a real challenge to live with, and we continue to live through these experiences every day, and I want to emphasize that. We have weathered this storm by rejoicing in her triumphs and finding humor in past events, even when those events may have seemed unbearable at that time. And I should add that my wife, unfortunately, is the one who has to bear most of these unpleasant experiences. We have found that our daughter's greatest needs have been in the area of education and for a highly structured environment to allow her some control over the events of her life. It is in the area of education that we have experienced our greatest challenge and have been labeled by our local school district administrators as the most difficult parents they have had to deal with. In the context of that meeting, we found this statement an insult, and there were other personal comments made to my wife that essentially have put her in a position where she will not talk to the school district administrators any longer. But we have been convinced by our friends and family that we should wear this as a badge of honor. If anything, it highlights the advocacy that we have championed for our daughter's right to an appropriate education that addresses her individual needs and the manner in which she learns best. I should point out that probably every parent on this panel is his or her own child's best advocate. My greatest hope today is that members of this committee and the audience will gain a better understanding of the unique nature of autism, the challenges and demands placed upon families caring for autistic children and adults, the significant emotional, financial, and community resources required to prepare and involve these individuals in everyday life, and to accept and respect these individuals for who they are. However, as previously mentioned, I also come to this committee as a trained infectious disease specialist and clinical scientist and, therefore, feel compelled to comment on two other areas of importance to me. In the area of medical and other treatments intended to help autistic children function to the best of their ability, I would hope to see more funding to allow for appropriately controlled and conducted studies to rapidly determine the true effectiveness of these interventions so that families can make informed decisions regarding the best use of their limited resources, as we have heard from a number of the panel participants already. Without these studies, I and other parents of autistic children are forced to make decisions which may at times prove disadvantageous to all involved, without the benefits of real data. I would also wish to comment on the current concerns regarding the potential causes for the perceived increase in autism. I implore the committee to be cautious in its statements and conclusions with regard to possible links to environmental factors and medical factors, especially immunizations. Recognizing that there are other parents on this panel who may feel otherwise--in fact, definitively feel otherwise--as a pediatric infectious disease specialist, I have seen no sound evidence linking autism to the MMR or any other vaccine, yet there is considerable evidence proving that the MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective in protecting children from serious diseases. In closure, no matter what conclusions are formed today or where the activities of these hearings may lead, I would like to share an axiom of medicine I have learned, practice daily, and continue to teach to future doctors: Above all, do no harm. Thank you. Mr. Burton. Thank you, Dr. Dankner.
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.