A Few Selected Autism Speaks Quotes

As many of you know, I collect quotes from Autism Speaks. I do this for two reasons: I run a blog (partially) about it and I keep tabs on them. However, I now feel it may be a good thing for me to put them up on my blog for two reasons: 1) so I can freaking find them and 2) so when my fellow anti- Autism Speaks people need to find them, they can. I have them categorized. If you are looking for a specific quote, please search for the category by hitting CTRL+F and typing the category of quote you are searching for in the bar that pops up. Hopefully this will be a useful page. It will be continually updated. This page also contains quotes said by politicians whose statements have been featured on the Autism Speaks website (unless Autism Speaks was disagreeing with them).

The categories currently are: comparing autistic people to diseases, calling us burdens/a drain on the economy, statements supporting eugenics, statements supporting restraint and seclusion, calling for our murders, and general dehumanization.  

This page will be continually updated.


  • Comparing Autistic People to Diseases: 
    •  "We needed to be the voice of these children and these families that were struggling, millions of them, with this epidemic of autism. They're exhausted, they're broke, it's so unrelenting, autism, there's no time to speak out. We needed to speak out for these children.”—Suzanne Wright [source]
    • “I am a strong supporter of investing in medical research to help improve treatments, as well as increasing education surrounding serious diseases like autism. In 2013, Sequestration cut $18.9 million in federal funding for autism programs, which has disproportionately harmed American families across the country. To help individuals with autism and their families, I will continue my fight to protect funding for the NIH, CDC, and other health programs. Smart and strong investments in research, treatments, and services is critical to address the public health emergency posed by autism spectrum disorders.”—Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) [source]
    • "These are families doing what we asked these families to do. They’re buying health insurance for their kids in the case of an unforeseen medical disaster and that’s what autism is. It’s an unforeseen and unprovoked medical disaster and I could not understand for the life of me why, because the diagnoses happens to be autism, the health insurance that you happen to be paying for your whole life didn’t step in and help when you needed help."--Parent in Sounding the Alarm: Battling the Autism Epidemic  
    • "I want to see more equity in terms of access to services for our children, you know, we see any kid with diabetes or any other condition would have and I’d like to for our kids to have a fighting chance with all the resources."--Parent in Sounding the Alarm: Battling the Autism Epidemic
    • "I do think there might be a genetic predisposition but there certainly must be an environmental trigger, because there’s no such thing as a genetic epidemic. And we have an epidemic now."--Suzanne Wright in Sounding the Alarm: Battling the Autism Epidemic   
    • "I don't explain that. I think it's absolutely deplorable. I cannot believe in the day of the Autism epidemic. As somebody reported before, Polio was in the 50's when we were growing up. It was 1 in 3,000 and was a national health crisis. Everyone rallied around the fact that we needed to find a cause and a cure. Now, we have 1 in 10,000 -- it was 13 years ago -- 1 in 166 is three years ago. The CDC numbers are now 1 in 150, 1 in 94 boys will be diagnosed with Autism. This is truly a national and a global epidemic."--Suzanne Wright [source]
  • Calling Autistic People Burdens: 
    • "The societal cost is enormous," said Michael Rosanoff, associate director of public health research and scientific review for Autism Speaks, a New York City-based advocacy group. And the dollar estimates from this study cover only children with autism — not adults, noted Rosanoff, who was not involved in the research. [source]
    • ”Autism is a growing public health crisis in America today, it affects nearly 1% of our children and it demands an appropriate level of response from the federal government through the reauthorization and expansion of the Combating Autism Act,” said Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks. “Thanks to the 2006 Combating Autism Act, we have made tremendous strides in federally-funded and directed research. However, the need for investment is greater than ever if we are to meaningfully address the scope of this enormous problem and the social and economic burdens it places on our nation.”—Autism Speaks’ Website [source]
    • "Today, autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have been dubbed an urgent public health crisis by the CDC. Autism affects 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys in the United States and the estimated annual economic cost of autism to society is a staggering $35 billion! Now, more than ever, ASD demands the attention of both public and private sectors. However, current estimates of autism’s cost to individuals, families, and society do not measure the impact that early diagnosis and intervention may have on reducing such costs. With this important information, policymakers can further advocate for members of the autism community by making informed decisions about resource allocation to enhance access to appropriate treatments. My hope is that this report can indirectly serve as an instrument for the advocacy and betterment of individuals living with and affected by ASD."-- Blog post by Alison Komorowski, an Autism Speaks intern [source]
  • Statements Supporting Eugenics: 
    • "There is a huge Autism Tsunami that is going to hit the state budgets of all of our states if they don’t take steps to ensure the kids are getting treatment. A study came out of Harvard a few years ago that projected the lifetime societal cost for a child with autism who doesn’t get the treatment he needs is [about] $3,000,000 it was $3,200,000 when the study came out a few years ago. If you take 3.2million dollars and multiply by 1/88 children, that is the current prevalence statistic from the CDC, that is a huge amount of money."--Autism Speaks' Vice President of State Government Affairs in Sounding the Alarm: Battling the Autism Epidemic 
    • “Today’s announcement by the CDC highlights not only the everyday experience of families affected by autism, it also addresses the need for a national plan to tackle this issue. With the release of data today, I look forward to continuing my efforts to work with my colleagues on an actionable response to this health crisis.”—Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH)
    • “At a time when 1 in 88 American children, including 1 in 54 boys is now diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, it is our responsibility to ensure previous commitments to our families, such as the CAA and the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA), which serves as the CAA extension, are upheld.” —Autism Speaks’ Mission Statement Founders Message [source] 
    • "Autism Speaks thanks Senators Menendez and Enzi for their leadership in introducing this critical legislation which deeply impacts the futures of the ever-growing number of Americans diagnosed with autism.  Action is needed quickly in Congress to assure the federal government remains committed to addressing this national health crisis."—Bob Wright [source]
    • Twenty years ago, the experts estimated that one of every 2,500 children had autism. The latest statistic is one in 110, one in 70 for boys. On Thursday March 29th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to announce a new prevalence rate that we suspect you will find even more disturbing. Increasingly we hear the word 'epidemic' associated with autism in America. But we at Autism Speaks are hearing something else from the families in our community and it is getting louder by the day. And that is the question, 'what is our government doing to confront this public health crisis?' We are increasingly frustrated and frankly confused by what appears to be a lack of will from Washington. When the number of people on the spectrum is going up, why would the dollars for autism research and prevention be going down? [...] We ask that Washington treat autism as the epidemic it has become."--Peter Bell [source] 

  • Statements Supporting Restraint and Seclusion:
    • "…there are times when a child can be restrained, such as if they are posing a threat to themselves or to others."— Jess Block-Nerren [source]
  • Calling For Our Murders or Murder Apology: 
    • "Murder is murder. However it is a fact that some parents do not believe that they have any other viable options. We cannot avoid the fact that all too many parents windup [sic] committing suicide because they conclude that they don’t have viable options, we must develop and better communicate the existence of these other options so that parents do not go off the final deep end.” —Gary Mayerson, board member of Autism Speaks. [source]
    • For the Next Quote: trigger warning suicide and suicide ideation
      • "But I remember that was a very scary moment for me when I realized I had sat in the car for about 15 minutes and actually contemplated putting Jody in the car and driving off the George Washington Bridge. That would be preferable to having to put her in one of these schools, and it is only because of Lauren, the fact that I have another child, that I probably didn’t do it."--Alison Singer in Autism Speak's Autism Everyday Video
  • General Dehumanization:
    • "We at Autism Speaks see the tsunami. What was once 1 in 166 children diagnosed with autism is now 1 in 88 children, and for boys it’s 1 in 54. We recognize the cost to the families, and the country, estimated at up to 2.3 million dollars per person for their lifetime. That translates to well over 137 billion dollars, and does not account for new cases being diagnosed every 11 minutes. We understand there’s 3 million people in America alone, 70 million worldwide, who need us. Add their parents and caregivers and the number becomes too much to bear. We are their voice. We are Autism Speaks."--What Is Autism Speaks Video (Narrator) 
    • Today, autism affects 1 in 68 children nationwide; 1 in 42 boys, making it more common than childhood cancer, Juvenile diabetes, pediatric AIDS, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and Down Syndrome combined. In New Jersey autism affects…The time is now for autism action in this state and in this country. My oldest son Aidan is beautiful. To look at him you would never know that he suffers from such a devastating disability called autism. Aidan was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. Aidan just turned 11 this past February. Aidan has severe autism—he is completely non-verbal and does not sit still due to his severe sensory disorder. He constantly runs around the house and requires 24 hour care. He does not have any words. When he was 4 years old he was diagnosed with severe verbal apraxia of speech. He had words when he was 2 but lost them all by the time he was 5. I have never heard my son call me “Mommy” or say “I Love You Mommy.” I have been waiting eleven years to hear Aidan say anything to me. He cannot take care of himself. He cannot get himself something to eat or drink. He does not know how to take a bath by himself or wash himself. He does not know how to dress himself. He is still not fully potty trained and has no effective way of communicating with us.” —Johanna Burke, Walk Co-Chair for the Northern New Jersey Walk Now for Autism Speaks. [source]
    • "I will fight to take away your hope. I will plot to rob you of your children and your dreams. I will make sure that every day you wake up you will cry, wondering who will take care of my child after I die?"—Autism Speaks’ “I Am Autism” Video [source]
    •  ”This is generations of children that are being left behind. No country can afford to have 2% of its boys, that’s, that’s not gonna make it. We have to do something about it.”—Suzanne Wright (note: this isn't blatantly dehumanizing, but it best fits in this category) 
    • "Autism is naïve. You are alone. We are a community of warriors. We have a voice. You think because some of our children cannot speak, we cannot hear them? That is autism’s weakness. You think that because my child lives behind a wall, I am afraid to knock it down with my bare hands? You have not properly been introduced to this community of parents and grandparents, of siblings and friends and schoolteachers and therapists and pediatricians and scientists. Autism, if you are not scared, you should be. When you came for my child, you forgot: you came for me. Autism, are you listening?"—Autism Speaks’ “I Am Autism” Video [source]
    • "This disorder has taken our children away. It’s time to get them back." —Autism Speaks’ Founders Message [source]
    • "So right off the bat they were saying he doesn’t have a medically treatable condition and I said so, so what do we do now? And they said well, you, you—there, there are therapists that could probably help him, especially the speech therapists, because that’s, that’s obviously a problem. He’s lost his speech."--Bob Wright in Sounding the Alarm: Battling the Autism Epidemic 
    • "He doesn't really speak a lot. And he runs around a lot. And he has to have one on one therapist with him most time. Christian unfortunately had a very sad regression of autism. He was developing beautifully. He hit all his milestones. He had a wonderful vocabulary. He was potty trained. So for this to happen to him was so very sad to see this child escape into the darkness of Autism. He lost his language. He lost his ability to potty train. He basically went into the darkness of Autism right in front of our eyes, which was very, very sad to see. That's why I want to empower grandparents or anybody in the family that thinks there's something. Most likely there is. We suspected something at about 18 months but because a baby was born and they had moved, you know, boys will be boys. Boys will regress. Many of the doctors said don't worry about it. In the day of the autism epidemic, you cannot accept anything but second and third opinions to make sure that nothing is wrong with your child. And go to my -- our website where we have all of the developmental mile stones. And you can look for yourself to see if your child is meeting those."--Suzanne Wright [source]
    • "As the mother of two boys with Autism it has not been an easy road and that’s putting it very, very, very mildly. No, it is not a disease but rather a disability. It affects not only the autistic but the entire family. Life is not normal and everything must be altered to accommodate the autistic."--Beverly Perry [source] (note: this isn't the worst thing they have said, but the last part is what has it make this list) 
    • “There is no national plan to build a city for 500-thousand people. So let’s dial back a minute and consider the babies being diagnosed with autism every day in this great country. Do we have a plan for them?”--Suzanne Wright [source]
    • "It [autism] takes your bank account and [whoosing noise, quick lowering of hand] gone."--Dan Spitz in Sounding the Alarm: Battling the Autism Epidemic 

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