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Friday, August 19, 2016

Epidemic Pushback

In The Politics of Autism, I write about pushback against the disease frame:
Another signal was a 2013 public apology by Easter Seals after it sent out a mass email using the disease frame:  “On Tuesday, we sent you an email about autism and we owe you an apology. We called autism an epidemic and some of you called us out on our language. You're right. Autism is not an epidemic. Autism is not a public health crisis.”  In the same vein, Los Angeles Times journalist Michael Hiltzik walked back from language that he used in a 2014 story.   “I have been taken to task, properly, for referring to autism above as `a terrible condition for its sufferers and their families.’ That's a narrow and ill-informed way of looking at a condition that many people on the autism spectrum feel has benefited their lives.” 
At Forbes, Emily Willingham writes that Minnesota Green Party chair Brandon Long is defending presidential candidate Jill Stein:
So how about that consultation with ASAN that Brandon Long says occurred? Like I said, I checked in with ASAN about it. This organization, which represents autistic people first and foremost—their motto is “nothing about us without us”—says it has been approached by numerous campaigns, from Clinton’s to Jeb Bush’s, and ASAN offers the same advice to any candidate who reaches out for them. In a statement to me about Stein’s remarks, the organization said:
We are deeply concerned by comments made referring to autism as a ‘public health calamity’ and ‘epidemic’, and the lack of any meaningful retraction of these remarks to date. Upon being approached, we communicated that concern, and made reference to longstanding policy priorities on autism and disability that have been shared with each candidate that has contacted us.
Along with ASAN, I and members of the autism community await that meaningful retraction and Jill Stein’s “platform positions on the issue.”