An Open Letter to Autism Advisory Task Force
Title: An open letter to The Autism Advisory Task Force
An open letter to The Autism Advisory Task Force - Citing concerns about the violation of human rights of autistic children, experimentation on children, task member’s conflicts of interest, and the validity of the current approach.
1. Violation of Human Rights:
It is important that the United States Government is presented an opinion that the basic premise of the Senate Bill 946 and the Autism Advisory Task Force regarding the medical necessity for the treatment of Autistic people (referred to in the Bill’s language as "individuals with autism") evokes a comparison to a medical necessity of treatment of Gay people ("individuals with homosexual symptoms") in the not so distant past. The Government should be reminded that a none-consensual attempt at the eradication of who the person is constitutes a violation of this person’s human rights according to federal law, even when the person is a child, and even with parental consent.
It’s also important that the Government is made aware of established scientific facts regarding the neurological differences in Autistic people, which simply stated means that the brain structure of Autistic people is different, and that this unequivocally defines who they are, and that it cannot be altered by medication, or by invasive intervention, including the ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) and other similar treatments. It is a consequence of these scientific facts that we refer to Autistic people as such and not as individuals with autism.
2. Experimentation on children:
It is important that the Government understands that the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center shock therapy treatment is just one of many treatments that “have been scientifically validated and have demonstrated clinical efficacy”. It is important also that the meaning of it is understood as well, i.e. that the efficacy of this particular therapy, just as any other, was tested on adults and children (repeatedly for the purposes of scientific validation), by the medical and/or scientific community. The government should be aware that the practice of evolving the new treatments as stated in the bill (“1. Interventions that...”), necessitates a path which requires testing, and that this testing is performed on children (autistic children), which constitutes human experimentation on children and is prohibited by Federal law, even when parental consent is obtained.
3. Conflict of interest
It is important that the Government and the public be aware of the Autism Advocacy Task Force members who may have a conflict of interest in the matters that are the business of this task force. In particular whether some members may benefit directly or indirectly from the policy that promotes the “medical necessity” for the treatment of Autistic people. The Government should ask the individuals who have a conflict of interest to excuse themselves from the task force.
4. Validity of the Approach
The Government should also be informed of the latest statistics regarding the overall success of these treatments over the past twenty years, which puts in question the validity of the “Treatment Approach”. The social services numbers presumably indicate that some 90% of Autistic people processed by the “Treatment Intervention” system come out disabled. The possibility that the aggressive treatment may be a contributing factor or provides no positive value should be considered and studied.
ASAN: Sit on Autism Advocacy Task Force - May 18, 2012
PS. I’m sending this letter to the Autism Advisory Task Force (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I also will be sending it to all Autistic people I manage to find on the internet.
I ask Autistic people, if YOU agree with the above (in whole or in part), to do the same (send this Open Letter to the Autism Advisory Task Force and to other Autistic people), and also add your name to the Petition List. The next meeting of the task force is on May 18 June 22 (see ASAN). We can make our opinion count, but we must speak with a unified voice.