GOP spin blogger Pat Powers cares so much about autism that he’s willing to advocate big government intrusion in the marketplace to make sure his cause is supported.
But autism-advocate Powers apparently can’t bring himself to violate his Dear Leader principles. While Donald Trump lit the White House blue yesterday evening for Autism Awareness Day, he has lit up autism advocates with his apparent misunderstanding of autism. Yet Powers has not raised his voice alongside his fellow autism advocates to point out his President’s errors.
Trump issued a White House proclamation Friday recognizing World Autism Awareness Day. That proclamation speaks of genetic research (the Trump budget would cut a fifth of the budget of the National Institutes of Health, which conducts genetic research on autism) to “ultimately, find a cure” for autism.
Cure? Believe it or not, that’s not the right word to use with autism advocates:
President Trump’s proclamation pledges that his administration will encourage “innovation that will lead to new treatments and cures for autism.” Such a goal is widely outside the consensus of the self-advocate community, which has long since concluded that the concept of a “cure” for autism is profoundly unethical and leads to dangerous and even deadly consequences for autistic people. It is also out of line with the consensus of the scientific community, which has recognized the idea of cure as scientifically implausible. Research towards “cure” does not help autistic people or our families, and after decades of protest from autistic people, the public has begun to realize that a world without autistic people is not an ethical or desirable goal. The Trump administration’s attempt to revive the idea of cure is a dangerous fringe position [Autistic Self Advocacy Network, statement, 2017.04.01].
Such ignorant “cure” talk arises naturally from Trump’s complete, hermetic self-absorption:
It’s not surprising that Trump is still looking for a “solution” to autism. I doubt he’s spent much time talking to autistic adults, or learning more about their support needs. That would require a willingness to accept a different worldview, and I’ve yet to see that from Trump. But by focusing on autism as something to prevent, treat, or cure, Trump is doing kids like mine a disservice, and reinforcing the idea that who they are isn’t good enough [Jody Allard, “The New President’s Ignorance about Autism Is Dangerous for Kids Like Mine,” CafeMom, 2017.02.15].
Governor Dennis Daugaard manages to avoid the word “cure” in his autism awareness proclamations. Last year Powers found autism awareness proclamations from Governor Daugaard and Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether positive and newsworthy. Yet he fails to notice a proclamation from his President that gets his issue wrong.
While celebrating socialist policies supporting his autism advocacy, Powers has noted that claiming that autism is increasing due to vaccines is “crazytalk“. Yet Powers has ignored his President’s peddling of exactly that crazytalk. In February, at a White House meeting with fellow no-clue-itarian Betsy DeVos, Trump referred to the “horrible… tremendous amount of increase” in autism. That statement is bunk:
Trump is broadcasting a very inaccurate and misleading claim about autism — one that you often hear from the Kennedys and Wakefields of the world, but which experts flatly disagree with. Purveyors of this claim often point out that autism rates have increased significantly since the early 1990s, but as Steve Silberman, an autism expert and the author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, told Science of Us, that has to do with diagnostic criteria and awareness, not the prevalence of the condition itself.
“There’s no consensus as to whether or not there’s been any significant increase in the actual prevalence of autism, period,” said Silberman [Jesse Singal, “Donald Trump Just Broadcast a Dangerous Misconception about Autism Rates,” New York Magazine, 2017.02.14].
Trump is now using the highest office in the country to broadcast language and falsehoods that run counter to the conscientious autism advocacy of people like Powers… yet Powers remains silent on the damage the pulpit bully is doing.
Come on, Pat: I wasn’t afraid to say President Obama was wrong on issues that are near and dear to my heart, like education, or when he didn’t push hard enough for liberal priorities, like single-payer health insurance or a public option. You can do it, too, Pat: you can say, “Trump is wrong: autism doesn’t need a cure; it needs more science, more understanding… and more socialism!”