Autism and controversy

I have worked in the field of autism for over 30 years. Controversy has always been a part of the landscape in my profession. There is significant debate about the cause of autism. Professionals engage in heated discussions about the most effective treatment. Arguments rage about whether autism prevalence is really increasing or if we are just better at diagnosing. Discord is common in the autism community, and Chili’s Restaurant experienced this discord with their recent Give Back Event.

There are many things that are known about autism:

I feel fortunate that I work for Easter Seals, an organization that focuses on delivering quality services and supports to people with autism—like early intervention and family support.

Corporate relationships are important for nonprofit organizations. Easter Seals has many strong relationships with corporations, and the support we get from corporations is invaluable to the people with disabilities who are supported by Easter Seals.

CVS Caremark Charitable Trust funded professional development for five years, and now hundreds of children receive EIBI services from well-trained professionals. CVS Caremark has continued its financial support, assisting Easter Seals in launching our Make the First Five Count initiative dedicated to ensuring children in need are identified at the earliest age via a free developmental screening program.

Mass Mutual Financial Group supported our Living with Autism Study, which demonstrated the need for family support.

Chili’s did their best to address the controversy that they unwittingly stepped into. In a statement published on the Chili’s blog, they said, “While we remain committed to supporting the children and families affected by autism, we canceled Monday’s Give Back Event based on the feedback we heard from our guests.” I appreciate Chili’s intent. I am glad they listened to their guests, and I hope that their next effort promotes meaningful outcomes for individuals living with autism.

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  9. parallel play Says:

    Part of what causes controversy in autism communities is community members in different places in life. 1.)We have parents with young children who are newly diagnosed; some of them grieving the child they thought would have, some accepting and moving forward 2.) we have families with very visible autistic expressions; some don’t see the commonalities between spectrum kids and spectrum adults,some who do 3.) and we have adults on the spectrum. Some of whom live independently, and many of us who need supports as well.Just as their children need supports.

    And because we are each *so busy*, going about our lives,* so engrossed* in our own daily doings, we have yet to see that other members of autism communities have some dreams and needs in common with our own. Parents of today’s children,families of autistic adults, and individuals on the autism spectrum all seem to engage in parallel play, in regards to public policy.It’s so strange! We don’t work together on the things we DO have in common. Which makes *ALL* our communities, less effective in building a system of supports.


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