Timeline: The Politics & Marketing Behind The Autism Epidemic | The 00s

[Timeline still in progress. Last updated Sept. 13, 2022]

Timeline: Early Years | 80s | 90s | 00s | 10s | 20s

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009

Autism Politics & Initiatives

The Autism Market

Grants , Funded Projects & Money Raised


Marketing & Media Attention

Organizations & Companies

Autistic Community & Allies


  • 2000

  • 2000

  • January 2000

    Included: Portia Iversen, Diane Chugani, Marion Leboyer, Robert DeLong, D. Branford, Eric Hollander, P. G. Rossi, Michael Chez, Isabel Rapin, Ted Page, Andrew Zimmerman, Anne Comi, Gina DelGiudice-Aschm, Sudhir Gupta, Ed Cook, Jeffrey LeWine, Anthony Bailey, Andrew Wakefield, Steve Edelson

  • February 13, 2000

  • March 2000

    Hear Their Silence Rally \ Hear Our Voices Counterprotest

  • April 6, 2000

    Autism and Childhood Vaccines Hearing


    “The medical establishment was opposed to behavior modification, or what is now called the ABA approach. They said that this was not a way to treat autism, because autism was based on deepseated emotional problems, so a technique that is used to train animals cannot be used to improve autistic children. That was untrue..” – Bernard Rimland, April 6, 2000. Bernard Rimland has white hair and beard and is wearing a tan suit, white shirt and multi-color tie. Also: Bernard Rimland was an American scientist and father of an Autistic. He co-founded the Autism Society of America with Ivar Lovaas, and was the founder of the Autism Research Institute.
    “Despite denials from some experts, there is a terrible 
    worldwide epidemic of autism.” - Bernard Rimland, Testimony from April 6, 2000

    Shoutouts at the Congressional Autism Vaccine Hearing to the Hear Their Silence Rally during testimony:

    “Mothers from all over the country have brought pictures of their autistic children to Washington this weekend. Most of these children were born normal and lost to autistic regression. Look into their eyes, and you will hear their silence.”
    Mary Megson – April 6, 2000
  • April 6, 2000

    At this moment in time CAN believes that nothing is as important for the autism community as moving forward on House Bill 3301 which mandates: Centers of Excellence for autism research, national awareness programs and epidemiology studies, which are critical given what seems like an alarming rise in the incidence of autism all across the nation. 

  • Speakers include medical researchers, autism specialists, parent activists, and Congressman Dan Burton. 

  • May 24, 2000

  • July 2000

  • July 17, 2000

    The Senate has introduced the bipartisan Children’s Health Act of 2000, which includes all the autism provisions found in the Advancement in Pediatric Autism Research Act, S.512. A companion bill has already passed in the house.

  • October 17, 2000

    This bill is the direct product of over three years of work by parents of autistic children, led by the families of Cure Autism Now.

     “It is very clear that the autism community was the engine that pulled the whole train.

    If the autism community had any edge other than the rightness of their cause it was access to celebrities. 

  • October 17, 2000


    “You did it!! All those calls, visits, faxes and action alerts have payed off in a huge way. The Senate passed the Children’s Health Act of 2000, S.2868, by unanimous consent–that means 100 in favor, 0 against! On Tuesday October 17, 2000 President Clinton signed the Children’s Health Act into Law!!!

    “This bill will set up 5 national centers of excellence for autism research where families can also get clinical help. It will study epidemiology and hopefully establish once and for all the horrific increase in autism--and what is causing it.” 

    “It will support brain and gene banking, and it will fund a national education program for physicians so that kids get diagnosed immediately, instead of when they are 3-5 years old and precious time is lost. It’s a really good bill, and we should remember why– the first draft was not written by politicans, but late at night, after work, by the parents at Cure Autism Now. It has been an honor to work with all of you on this effort.”

    Jon Shestack, Cure Autism Now
    Elizabeth Emken, Cure Autism Now 

  • October 2000


    “The autism title of the Children’s Health Act which was originally drafted by parents of autistic children, will correct 40 years of neglect on the part of the federal government and the biomedical research community on the subject of autism.

    “It authorizes a comprehensive federal war on autism, including enhanced epidemiological work by the Centers for Disease Control, “centers of excellence” for research into autism under the auspices of the National Institute of Health, gene and tissue banking to facilitate research, and education programs on autism for both the medical community and the public at large.

    “This bill could not come at a more critical time, as every state in nation is reporting an alarming increase in the incidence of autism that verges on epidemic proportions.”

    “Many of us had normal happy children who suddenly seemed to disappear over the course of a few months time. They will probably never marry, have meaningful work or live on their own. Half of them will never learn to speak.

    “We care for them and love them for who they are, but we also want more for them. For so many years we have put our hopes and dreams aside, but today we can begin to reclaim them. The best scientists in the country tell us that treatment and a cure for autism is possible and now we are on the road.”

  • December 4, 2000



  • January 1, 2002

  • 2002

  • 2002

  • April 2002



  • 2004

    Aspies For Freedom (AFF) was founded in 2004, and established June 18 as Autistic Pride Day starting in 2005. AFF was also instrumental in initiating protests against the National Alliance for Autism Research, Cure Autism Now, and the Judge Rotenberg Center.

  • 2004






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