Timeline: The Politics & Marketing Behind The Autism Epidemic | The 90s

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

1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999

Note: The timeline is still in the process of being updated. [Last updated January 19, 2023]

Autism Politics & Initiatives

The Autism Market

Grants , Funded Projects & Money Raised


Marketing & Media Attention

Organizations & Companies

Autistic Community & Allies



  • 1991

    Bernie Marcus and his wife Billi established The Marcus Institute in Atlanta, Georgia. Marcus later contributed $25 million to the launch of Autism Speaks. 

  • 1991

    Autism Society of America conference

    The visible presence of autistics at the conference attracted the attention of the ASA Board of Directors. Autistics were approached at the conference by a board member and a few NT parents and asked if they’d like to help establish an ASA autistic advisory committee, have an autistic representative at each board meeting, participate in the planning of future conferences, and have space in their community newsletter.





  • 1995

    Rimland was in favor of aversives, and testified against the Hughes Act, which restricted their use.

    Note: Vaccines do not cause autism. There is no treatment for autism, ‘all-natural’ or otherwise. Many of these ‘all-natural therapies’ are incredibly harmful and are still being touted by those cashing in on parents’ vulnerabilities with quackery and false hope.

  • 1995




  • 1998

    And staff: Dr. Leonard Abbeduto

  • 1998

  • 1998

  • 1998

  • 1998

  • 1998

    Anthony has increased his involvement with CAN by becoming a full member of CAN’s Board of Directors. Anthony’s special project for creating awareness for autism research is the Team CAN Indy Race Car entry.

  • 1998

  • 1998

    CAN welcomes honorary board member, Leah Rabin.

  • March 25, 1998

    “Facing Autism 1999” was the theme of a Hillsborough, California fundraiser held on the evening of March 25th.

    Thanks to the efforts of co-chairs Merton and Marva Hanks and Nanci and Gary Fredkin, a dedicated event committee, and celebrity supporters including Anthony Edwards, Rene Russo, Jerry Rice, Randal Cunningham and Merton Hanks, over a quarter of a million dollars was raised for CAN’s research, education and outreach programs. 

  • June 20, 1998

    Ex- Seattle Mariner Bill Krueger and his wife Jo (parents of Chanel) hosted “A Night for Autism,” a benefit dinner and auction in Seattle. CAN was the grateful recipient of all proceeds — which netted over $75,000. 

  • Summer 1998

    Los Angeles, Southern New Jersey, Chicago and Vancouver were all sites for CAN Celebrity Golf Classics held throughout the summer of 1998. These events had the participation of celebrities including Dweezil Zappa, Bill Smitrovich, Matt Adler, Joe Mantegna, Cathy Lee Crosy, Bill Pullman, Jack Scalia, Grant Tinker, Scott Wolf, Ronny Cox and Glen Foley, just to name a few. 

  • July 1998

    CAN Co-founder Portia Iversen and CAN Scientific Coordinator Dr. Dan Geschwind traveled to Nice, France to participate in a collaborative autism genetics research group meeting sponsored by P.A.R.I.S., the European consortium working on the genetics of autism. 

  • October 1998

    CAN, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and NAAR joined together in October 1998 for a historic event — the first ever animal model workshop in autism.

    “Building Animal Models for Autism through Translational Neuroscience Research” brought together world class experts in neuroanatomy, genetics, mouse genetics, primate behavior, brain imaging and developmental biology to formulate a plan for the development of this cutting edge methodology within the field of autism.”


%d bloggers like this: