What will Autism Speaks look like now?

20 Jun

Autism Speaks has a new president: Liz Feld. She was previously the Executive Vice President for Strategic Communications. The replaces Mark Roithmayr, the first full time president of Autism Speaks. Mr. Roithmayr resigned suddenly.

Ms. Feld has a great deal of experience in areas of communication and politics. But she appears to be an outsider to the autism communities.

While it is unclear why Mr. Roithmayr left, he was clearly a proponent of the concept of the autism epidemic. Also, under his tenure autism speaks has promoted a negative image of autistics which has drawn a great deal of criticism. The video “I am Autism” being a prime example. Autism Speaks has chosen a very nuanced approach to the question of vaccine causation.

As a relative newcomer to Autism Speaks and an apparent outsider to the autism communities, will Ms. Feld change direction for Autism Speaks? Autism Speaks seems more careful about the negative messages than in the past (one video has apparently been removed from the Autism Speaks website and YouTube channel for example).

The press release is quoted below.

NEW YORK, NY (June 19, 2012) — Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, today announced that Liz Feld, a respected executive with a strong track record of accomplishment in both the public and private sectors, has been named the organization’s new president. The appointment, which is effective immediately, was announced by Autism Speaks Co-founders Bob and Suzanne Wright. Mark Roithmayr has resigned as president after serving in the position since 2005.

Liz Feld
“Liz’s history of strong, results-oriented leadership, together with her clear vision for the future of Autism Speaks, makes her the ideal person to move us forward in our work to improve life for people with autism and their families,” said Bob Wright. “Autism Speaks is poised to accomplish even greater things in our advocacy work, in the scientific research we fund and in services and resources we provide to families. Liz will ensure that we realize our goals and meet our responsibility to those we serve.”

“We are so grateful to Mark for having guided Autism Speaks over the last seven years,” said the Wrights. “His passionate leadership and tireless efforts helped us grow from an emerging charity to the leading autism science and advocacy organization in the world. Mark always displayed an undying commitment to our army of volunteers and the autism community around the globe. We thank him for his tenacity and his dedication to our families.”

Commenting on the appointment of Feld, who joined Autism Speaks in 2012 as executive vice president of strategic communications, Suzanne Wright stated, “I am thrilled that Liz has agreed to step into the role of president of Autism Speaks, and excited by the prospect of what we can accomplish working together under her leadership. Liz believes passionately in our mission and our community. Her proven ability to build consensus and get things done will be a tremendous asset to Autism Speaks and our cause.”

Before joining Autism Speaks, Feld served for four years as the mayor of the Village of Larchmont in Westchester County, NY. She was elected mayor on a fiscal reform platform in 2006, after having served as deputy mayor (2003-2006) and trustee (2002-2006). As mayor, Feld secured more than $4 million in federal, state and local grants to support local programs, and restored the village surplus to $2.3 million, resulting in the village’s first AAA credit rating from Moody’s Investor Services.

Feld has devoted much of her career to public policy and strategic communications. She served in the White House from 1984-1987, as public affairs specialist in the White House Office of Management and Budget and press officer for Vice President George H.W. Bush during the Reagan administration. She was director of news information at ABC News and senior vice president for communications for Nickelodeon. Prior to that, she worked at Robinson, Lake, Lerer & Montgomery, a strategic communications and public affairs firm.

In September 1999, Feld helped launch the Million Mom March, a national grass-roots organization established to promote sensible gun safety legislation. She is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, co-founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. Feld also serves as a board member of New Yorkers for Growth, a leading New York State fiscal reform group.

Feld holds a B.A. in Government and Political Theory from Georgetown University.

Any hope for a change is tempered by this section of the press release where we are again given the epidemic concept.

About Autism
Autism is a general term used to describe a group of complex developmental brain disorders – autism spectrum disorders – caused by a combination of genes and environmental influences. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by social and behavioral challenges, as well as repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 88 children in the U.S. is on the autism spectrum – a 1000 percent increase in the past 40 years that is only partly explained by improved diagnosis.

Will there be change? It doesn’t make sense for Autism Speaks to change leadership, especially so suddenly, if not for some change in direction.

What that potential change may be we will have to wait to see. The press release gives little insight into such details.

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43 Responses to “What will Autism Speaks look like now?”

  1. Yo-yo June 20, 2012 at 13:39 #

    Autism Speaks still wants to cure autism. That’s all that matters to autistics. SHe’s just another ghoulish smiling face so far.

    • Bob June 20, 2012 at 14:36 #

      Yes, we want a cure.. We need a cure!

      • Chris June 20, 2012 at 15:28 #

        Okay, but what about the kids? What do they want? What do they need?

      • Yo-Yo June 22, 2012 at 21:11 #

        Even if we the autistics in the majority do not want to be eliminated? How selfish!

      • chavisory June 23, 2012 at 13:24 #

        Who is “we?”

        I don’t need a cure. I need support and acceptance.

      • Anna November 6, 2012 at 22:46 #

        Autism is not all bad. I can define words you don’t know and write creative writing you can only DREAM of. Bob, I am a 12 year old autistic girl and you are mistaken! I am not saying this because of my naiveté. Contemplate what I typed.

      • Lara Lohne November 7, 2012 at 06:14 #

        @Anna It’s you and other autistics, young and older, who give me hope for my son. He’ll be 6 in March and has already made vast progress, but also displays rare and uncommonly good for his age abilities. I want him to learn to be proud of who he is and not feel limited by what other people may say about him or people with his condition. yes, he stims regularly and probably always will, but I don’t try to stifle it because I know that’s what he needs to do to help him process everything and handle the added stress they provide to his system. I don’t think my son needs to be cured of anything. He’s adorable, funny as heck and smarter then me about some things. Why would I want to take that away from him? I applaud you and your abilities! You Rock!

      • Anna November 12, 2012 at 15:35 #

        You, sir, disgust me. I’m 12 years old and autistic and I’m fine. Autism is uncurable anyways and if it was curable, I would decline the offer for a cure. It’s not the autistics that are the problem. It’s people who want to eradicate it, to quash it. Being autistic allowed me to excel in school and do whatever I do with zeal. I know a kid on the severe end of the spectrum and he is happy with it. He plays soccer with me and gets excited about it. I may stutter sometimes, but have you noticed that I don’t pass judgement on others, stand back when I need to do something, or ostracize the special needs students such as myself? There are no perfect people, so DEAL WITH IT.

    • Lenny Schafer June 20, 2012 at 17:54 #

      >> Okay, but what about the kids? What do they want? What do they need?

      That’s for the parents to ultimately decide, not third party self-advocates or medical experts. Always has been; always will be.

      • Chris June 20, 2012 at 18:24 #

        Even when they are adults?

      • Sullivan June 20, 2012 at 18:29 #

        “That’s for the parents to ultimately decide’

        That’s for the autsitic to ultimately decide.

        For some families, like my own, parents and others will have a continuing role in advocating *for* our kids. But there are two ways to read that sentence. One, a person takes over the role of advocacy *from* the disabled person. Two, a person takes over the role of acting as the advocate, much as an attorney would, to advocate *on behalf of* the disabled person.

        Someone who claims that a “self-advocate” is a “third party” appears to this reader to not understand the above.

        And, yes, medical experts can be forced to step in when parents are not doing their duty. It’s a tough pill for us as parents to accept, but children are our responsibility, not our property. For some of us that responsibility continues even when our children reach adulthood.

      • Yo-Yo June 22, 2012 at 21:12 #

        autistic advocates are the first-party actually because THEY are autistic. Parents are the third party

      • Sullivan (Matt Carey) March 4, 2015 at 02:02 #

        “That’s for the parents to ultimately decide, not third party self-advocates or medical experts. Always has been; always will be.”

        Really?

        So it was up to Dorothy Spourdalakis to make any and all decisions for her son?

        Children are our responsibility, not our property. When we make decisions that are contrary our childrens’ interests, we lose the right to make those decisions.

    • Anna the Flutist February 12, 2013 at 02:08 #

      No. We want integration! The autistic employment rate is 10%

  2. Staff June 20, 2012 at 16:28 #

    That is why we have translational medicine that is applicable now into the treatments of autism.

  3. Sonja L June 20, 2012 at 17:16 #

    Another opportunity to actually include people within the autism community wasted. What experience or understanding of autism does this person have? It seems that her appointment is all about money and the ability to access funds. They’ve yet to appoint someone on the spectrum who is intelligent and well-spoken to truly “speak” for autism.

    I’m also sick and tired of this organization coming into towns, sucking needed funds away with their various fund-raising “walks” that leave NOT ONE PENNY for the neighborhood or the people with autism who live there.

    This org has created a “face” that has a political component (Autism Votes) as well and I see so much of the fundraising going towards things that aren’t helping our population of people diagnosed with autism now. We need services, supports and job opportunities, not cures.

    This organization is a monster that feeds on the smaller, less well-funded or staffed autism support agencies and groups who do real, actual help in the community. It’s a shame that they’ve managed to become the national “face” for autism when they have no one who is actually diagnosed with autism in decision-making capacities in their organization.

  4. Kim Wombles June 20, 2012 at 17:18 #

    You’re assuming that it was sudden, that it was driven by AS instead of Mark choosing to step down and move on. Seven years as president of an organization that grew tremendously and faced challenges in the autism community is a long time to be president. I would not assume it means anything other than a change in leadership until there is evidence of anything else.

    • Sullivan June 20, 2012 at 18:20 #

      I won’t assume either way without more evidence. There is certainly the possibility, and I’d say a reasonable probability, that this isn’t simply a change in leadership.

      I do think this is sudden. There is no mention of a transition period. No discussion of a search. Just one person leaving and another immediately taking his place. Autism Speaks is a very publicity aware organization. There is a great opportunity for publicity in an executive search. I seem to recall that they did this when they were looking for their chief science officer, but I may be mistaken. There is also an opportunity in an internal transition.

      I’ll note that the last time someone prominent left Autism Speaks suddenly was when she took a public pro-science stance that went against Autism Speaks’ wishes.

      I’ve tried a couple calls to Autism Speaks, but didn’t get through to a person in a couple attempts. This is likely simply due to the fact that my opportunity to call coincides with lunch time in New York. But I’d like to hear why Mr. Roithmayr has left.

  5. Roger Kulp June 20, 2012 at 23:30 #

    One thing they could do,is make an an announcement that they do not believe there is an “autism epidemic”,and they want to do an official census/survey of every diagnosed autistic over the age of say,thirty,to pick a nice round number.Then the next step would be to look for those who are undiagnosed,starting in places like prisons,and homeless shelters.

    But i’m not holding my breath.

    • Lara Lohne November 7, 2012 at 06:28 #

      @Roger, That’s an awesome idea. The only thing I would correct is not just looking at those in prisons and homeless shelters, but also those who received possibly other diagnoses that wouldn’t be specified (E.g. Personality Disorder NOS or schizoid disorder NOS.) I say that because I read a study recently released on prison inmates and many of them had been given some kind of mental disorder diagnosis either in prison or prior to being charged. Some were bi-polar, some depression, but many more had these NOS personality or schizoid disorders. When they were reevaluated by professional ASD evaluator they found 40% had ASD but been previously misdiagnosed. That’s a lot to be misdiagnosed of those in the prison system. How many others who are not in prison might also have NOS disorders?

  6. Roger Kulp June 21, 2012 at 00:16 #

    Sonja L,

    It’s been well documented that people in the upper levels of the organization have been siphoning off money,for big salaries,perks,and such.If they were going to announce this practice was going to change,and the guilty parties gave back the money they spent on themselves,like this,that would also be a step in the right direction.

    You are right,I don’t think a lot of people who raise money for AS have any idea this is where a lot of it goes.

    Chris,Yes “even when they’re adults”.

    A lot of people at the higher functioning end of the spectrum,have no idea what kind of outside circumstances there are involving a more severe autism diagnosis.”More severe” being anything worse than Asperger’s.It does not have to be profound classic autism.

    A lot of us in this situation are not able to work.We live with parents.Parents who are getting old,and dying,like my mother.This is a growing problem that needs to be addressed.Autism Speaks is silent on this.

    My mother died in April,from an acute stroke.She only lasted about a week,and never regained consciousness.She died in a hospital.The hospital somehow found out about my autism diagnosis,and how severe it was at the time of diagnosis.They began proceedings to put me in a group home,without my knowledge or consent.They also found out who my landlord was,and asked him for permission to come in the house,and have Adult Protective Services take me.My landlord immediately stepped in as my advocate to put a stop to this.I later learned he has an autistic son,and believes very strongly in independent living.

    So yes,some people on the the spectrum need advocates like this their entire lives,they are not fully capable of doing it all themselves.

    • Chris June 21, 2012 at 00:28 #

      My deepest sympathies for your loss. And I am glad you had an advocate when when they wanted to take away your choices.

    • Sullivan June 21, 2012 at 01:27 #

      Roger Kulp,

      I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad you were able to fend off the effort to move you.

      • psychtld June 21, 2012 at 12:40 #

        As am I, on both parts. The way that my case was dealt with by the town council and the private organisation to which it was given (without any discussion with me!) was/has been unbelievably shocking – to the point of being Kafka-esque. Glad that what crap I’ve been getting for the past 14 yrs hasn’t happened to you, Roger.

    • springingtiger June 22, 2012 at 07:11 #

      Why Americans say “the worlds leading” when they mean the USA’s leading? Still, this could prove to be positive.

      Sonja, serious respect to your landlord!

    • Yo-Yo June 22, 2012 at 21:17 #

      I hate it when people say classical autism when one of the original people who was in an autism study got a damned Nobel Prize!

      Whatever great story you can spin, you seem to be very able to advocate something despite saying you cannot advocate something. Missing out spaces between commas makes it feel like you’re just an NT saying we are dumb by stealth.

      Most autistics are like me, even higher-functioning

    • chavisory June 23, 2012 at 13:36 #

      But advocates should be for backing you up in your choices, not taking them away. Which is the immense danger of saying that parents, and not autistic people ourselves, are the correct ultimate advocates for what autistic people need.

      Of course we should have advocates when we need them, even as adults. But we should ultimately be driving the decision-making about our own lives, not our parents.

      I’m appalled the hospital tried to do that to you.

  7. Dadvocate June 21, 2012 at 15:29 #

    It does get tiresome when folks like Roger and Sojna regurgitate the same old falsehoods about Autism Speaks without citing a single fact. A quick glance at their website maight prove informative about local community funding and efforts to reach out to get resources to underserved communities. Sigh. Leadership changes in all organizations and often it’s a personal decision based on factors that will never become public. All of the sudden Lee Grossman was out at ASA. Why? I haven’t a clue and don’t care. The key is the organization’s mission not the people. If you disagree with the mission and policies don’t support it. Champion something else. But the numbers undeniably support the notion that the broad autism community (which is all of us…people with an ASD, parents, family members, and the community at large) strongly support Autism Speaks research funding, awareness (education)initiatives, and grant making efforts, including their initiatives on adult services and supports…

    • Yo-Yo June 22, 2012 at 21:20 #

      I get sick and tired of parents thinking that they can criticize an organisation involving itself with autism BUT NOT autistics. This is nothing more than the same, tiresome, fear-inducing rubbish you get everywhere when some unempathetic NT thinks their ‘terrible burden’ gives them the right to insult autistics for saying that they don’t want to be eliminated. If you have a corrupt mission then people will criticize you. if you try to justify a corrupt organisation YOU WILL be challenged by people. Deal with it.

      • Roger Kulp June 25, 2012 at 14:34 #

        Yo-Yo,

        What I am I am sick and tired of is Aspies telling me autism is just who they are,with no clue about what life is like elsewhere on the spectrum.Many of them also imply they claim to speak for all autistics.What do you mean by “fear inducing rubbish”?

        For me,”Autism Every Day”,is a far more realistic portrayal than anything Ari Ne’eman,and ASAN ever put out.My only problem was it was too over emotional,and did not cover nearly enough of the nasty stuff.

        Nothing makes me angrier than having people with non regressive,higher functioning forms of autism,implying that their experience is that of all autistics.Head banging and self abuse,eloping or wandering,to pick just two of the worst things,are just as disturbing to the autistic person doing it,as they are to the parents.Have you ever been stopped by the police out wandering,in a temporary nonverbal state,when you are unable to tell the police officer,who you are,and what you are doing?.Do you know what it’s like to be a child,either in school,or in a store,to have a severe meltdown,and start destroying their property?

        Do you know what it’s like,as a teenager,or an adult,to have an acute infection,like pneumonia,or meningitis,and suffer a regression that takes five or ten years to recover from?

        How old were you when you were toilet trained?I was almost nine years old,and that was pretty good.Some kids are still in diapers in their early teens.

        These are just a few things I have had to live with.

        Of course I do not believe what the antivax people say,about autistics being less than human,but the fact is the spectrum is so damn big,and covers such a wide range of circumstances,that we can only understand where we personally are,not where someone else is.I don’t think anybody really likes this fact,or is comfortable with it.

        Given this,I think AS has done as good a job as can be expected in trying to accommodate everybody on the spectrum.Given the wide range of how autism impacts people’s lives,I don’t think that it’s possible for them to put an autistic on their board.If they pick a person who is higher functioning,the parents of children with severe autism,are going to scream about how “they sold out to the neurodiversity movement”.No I think we should leave that just the way it is.

        Somewhat OT,but given this is a UK based blog,I sort of thought you would have covered this

        Autism: Child diagnosis in Wales can take seven years
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-18540252
        h/t to the great “Speaking On The Spectrum” blog

  8. Roger Kulp June 21, 2012 at 16:55 #

    Psychtld,

    I don’t know the circumstances about what happened to you,but if you don’t want to discuss it,that’s fine,but this does get back to Autism Speaks.By saying this is all due to an “autism epidemic”,you are denying that people in their 30s,40s,50s,and older with autism exist,and neither do the problems they have to face.I am also lucky,that I have worked my butt off to find an underlying metabolic cause,and treat it,but not everybody is that lucky.I will probably never end up in a nursing home,but what about autistics who do?Autism Speaks should be concerning themselves with the needs of autistics throughout their entire lifespan,By saying it’s all due to an “autism epidemic” that started in the 1990s,you putting off all sorts of problems like this,and ignoring the needs of,maybe three generations,of autistics out there.Identified or not identified.This is my number one beef with AS,not that they have put stuff out there,that some people might think shows autism in a bad light,or shows it as being worse than some people think it is.

    Dadxocate,
    I’m not saying Autism Speaks has not done good work,and funded some good research.All I know are some pretty nasty stories I have read on autism blogs about Autism Speaks and the misuse of funds like this.Some of the blogs use links to IRS records to back it up.I have not seen anything specific from AS to counter this.It is an important issue they need to address,especially given how people work their collective butt off to raise money for them.If people want money raised locally to be used locally,this also ought to be a concern.

    Maybe with the new leadership,it ought to be a fresh start as well.A good way to do this,would be to have a public comment period,where they take suggestions about what they ought to spend their money on.

    • Bob June 21, 2012 at 18:08 #

      Autism Speaks IRS990 Filings are some of the most detailed of any non-profit. The IRS has confirmed that. No Mis-use of funds. Learn the forms, educate yourself and then check out the AS numbers! Very detailed for a non-profit.

      • Sullivan June 21, 2012 at 18:38 #

        Most of the critiques of Autism Speaks’ form 990’s that I’ve seen have focused on the salaries paid to their executives. Executive salaries are high and, frankly, if they bring in a much greater value than the salary, so what? Much attention went to the first year payment for Geri Dawson. Guess what, Autism Speaks had to convince a professor to move. Professors have one of the last great retirement plans in America. It takes money to get someone to walk away from a defined benefit plan like that. I don’t know if that’s the reason for the first year salary,. but that sort of reasoning is why I don’t criticize it.

        I think that Autism Speaks *is* listening. They have been broadening their focus away from primarily young children to more lifespan issues.

        There are good people at Autism Speaks. People working towards good goals. People who do listen.

        Autism Speaks is the second largest private source of research funding. And they are not going away. I think it’s better to keep voicing opinions and hope that things continue to improve.

        Frankly, I think that Mark Roithmayr’s Huffington Post piece was part of what I’d like to see changed about Autism Speaks.

        Consider his second paragraph:

        With the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) numbers now showing that 1 in 88 children in the United States is being diagnosed with autism — nearly doubling the prevalence since the CDC began tracking these numbers — autism can now officially be declared an epidemic in the United States.

        Contrast that with the article that the number one private source of autism research funding had on the CDC prevalence estimates.

        Q&A with Eric Fombonne: Are autism’s rising rates real?

        Here’s one section:

        Variability in prevalence among different sites provides evidence of ascertainment difficulties. First, it is important to realize that the current CDC rate of 1.1 percent is only an average that is obtained by pooling together different figures and is not more ‘true’ than each estimate that contributes to it.

        Vast variability: There is a more than four-fold difference between the prevalence of autism in Alabama, which has the lowest rate, and Utah, which has the highest. The U.S. average rate is highlighted in red. States that used only health records (green) tend to have lower rates than those that used both health and educational records (blue).

        The variability in ingredients of this average is also important to consider. In the CDC study, there is a roughly four-fold difference in the estimates between Alabama, the state with the lowest prevalence (4.8 per 1,000 children), and Utah, the state with the highest prevalence (21.2 per 1,000). (See graph, right.) Nobody interprets these site differences as differences in incidence. It’s a difference in ascertainment.

        How can we call something an epidemic because we saw a factor of 2 increase over time when we can’t even measure it accurately within a factor of 4 today?

        There were parts of Mr. Roithmayr’s piece I agreed with, and other parts I didn’t. But the main theme is poor. It’s part of what, in my opinion, needs to change.

    • springingtiger June 26, 2012 at 03:18 #

      I think we Aspies do have a right to speak and I think experientially many of us do qualify by your standards to speak of a range of autistic experience. I may have been toilet trained at a reasonable time, but I was certainly older the nine before having regular bladder control or stopping wetting my bed, I know the humiliation of standing in a puddle of my own piss while surrounded by laughing classmates. Meltdowns? yes I still have them. Destruction? my fist has holed every door, and a few of the walls in my house. Self- harming? I am a lifelong headbanger and my hands are calloused from where I have chewed away the skin. I have pulled muscles in my neck because of sudden involuntary movements. And yes, I have occasional non-verbal incidents where the words in my brain can’t find their way to my tongue. I have immune problems, digestive problems, sleep problems and am frequently subject to crippling overloads. Just because I am a high functioning Aspie does not mean that I don’t share experiences with other autistics, it is because our experiences overlap that we can speak, indeed we have a responsibility to speak. It may be argued that noone can know another’s experience, in which case noone can speak for anyone else. I don’t say that I have a right to speak for others on the spectrum if they wish to express contradictory views, but I do have a right to express my opinions.

  9. springingtiger June 22, 2012 at 07:04 #

    Why Americans say “the worlds leading” when they mean the USA’s leading? Still, this could prove to be positive.

    • Sullivan June 22, 2012 at 14:33 #

      In Autism Speaks’ case, it could be for two reasons. First, they are an expanding international organization. Second, in terms of budget, they may very well be the number one org that focuses both on science *and* advocacy.

  10. Gedrene June 22, 2012 at 21:10 #

    It will look exactly the same. First thing it did was do research for HFA to make us all in to clay doll freaks

    • Anna November 12, 2012 at 15:37 #

      Agreed. I hate Autism Speaks because it was not made for the autistic people.

  11. Roger Kulp June 22, 2012 at 23:58 #

    I do agree with you Sullivan,but I would like to see this go one step further.I would like to see them issue a public statement saying they do not believe there is an “autism epidemic”,but I don’t think they will.The autism epidemic stuff is part and parcel of the antivaccine movement,something that many in the upper levels of AS probably buy into.If not them,then certainly a great many of the people who donate money and fundraise for them do.Denying there is an epidemic would upset to many apple carts,and kill too many cash cows for them.

  12. Anna November 12, 2012 at 15:26 #

    Autism organizations should be for the autistic people, by the autistic people, and of the autistic people. Autism Speaks just wants to bleach my awesomeness away. They should let my fellow auties get vaccinated. God did not ruin me. He created me in His own image.

    • Sullivan (Matt Carey) November 13, 2012 at 00:22 #

      Anna,

      I appreciate a great deal that you comment here. I’m heartened to see one of the next generation of self advocates.

      Let me point out that comments like this are likely to get responses of the “you aren’t like my kid” variety. Those never seem to get anywhere.

      Which is a long intro to saying, there are some concerns that I think are valid in response to your comment, but please see that I’m not just taking a “you’re not like my kid” dismissive approach. But-consider how does an autism organization include those who either through disability or age are not self advocates? Just as an org without autistic representation is problematic, an org of entirely self advocates will also be problematic.

      • Anna November 17, 2012 at 23:52 #

        We can include normals but autistic people should be a part of autism organizations. Just saying.

  13. Anna November 17, 2012 at 23:54 #

    Autism speaks makes me sick. They come up with fringe theories and want to make everyone the same.

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