Katie Wright’s presence at the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing on the Federal Response to Autism was a balm for all of us listening to the usual platitudes coming from the mouths of Dr. Coleen Boyle and Dr. Alan Guttmacher. Her expressive face said everything we wished we could be saying, and it said it on national television. We asked Katie if she would like to comment on what she experienced that day
I love “The Thinking Moms’ Revolution.” The simple act of thinking and thinking carefully seems like a lost art at the CDC.
As I walked into the congressional hearings I was so happy to see all the “Thinking Moms” T-shirts. It was game day but these moms were not there to play. The “Thinking Moms” and all the ASD parents wanted to hear some answers regarding the utter lack of progress in autism research at the CDC and the NIH.
About every other answer by Dr. Coleen Boyle and Dr. Alan Guttmacher was “I don’t know.” I take that to mean either, “I never think about that,” or “I don’t want to tell you.”
Congresswoman Maloney asked Dr. Boyle if the CDC is studying the vaccine schedule, “I don’t know,” said Dr. Boyle.
Congressman Posey asked Dr. Guttmacher, “How many vaccines do babies under two receive?” “I don’t know,” said Dr. Guttmacher.
Congressman Jim Matheson asked Dr. Boyle why Utah’s rate of autism was so much higher than the rest of the country. “I don’t know,” said Dr. Boyle.
Congressman Meehan asked Dr. Boyle if there had been any other disease that had risen as fast as autism over the past 20 years? “I don’t know,” said Dr. Boyle.
As a follow up Congressman Meehan asked if Dr. Boyle thought that the 1,000 % increase in autism represented something other than better detection. Dr. Boyle’s answer was, “I don’t know.”
And my favorite: What did Dr. Guttmacher say when asked if the CDC or the NIH had developed any new therapies over the past dozen years? Dr. Guttmacher responded, “behavioral therapies.” Behavioral therapies! ABA was developed over 25 yrs ago! I am counting that embarrassingly wrong answer as an “I don’t know.”
My nine-year-old knows more about autism than these two. You know why he knows more? Yes, partially because he lives with an autistic brother, but mainly because he cares, he actually cares, and feels invested in the lives of people with autism. And you know what else? Even he knows that there is a lot more going on besides early detection behind these astronomical numbers.
~ Katie Wright
Katie Wright has two young boys. Her oldest son, Christian, is severely affected by autism. He developed normally; smiling, talking, walking; only to lose every skill and every word by the age of 2 and a half. Upon the advice of medical professionals Katie and her husband were advised to pursue only high quality behavioral therapy, speech and OT for Christian. It had no meaningful impact on Christian until his parents sought help from DAN! doctors who treated the underlying causes of Christian’s descent into autism. Christian has improved but still has far to go. He has Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the measles virus in his gut and an immune system akin to a late stage AIDS patient. Christian does not have a psychiatric disorder. Before autism, Katie Wright was the Clinical Director of Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Stamford Connecticut. Katie is a Contributing Editor at Age of Autism and is proud to serve on the Boards of NAA and SafeMinds.
It was so frustrating watching Boyle and Guttmacher and not be able to scream at them but thank goodness we had Katie gesticulating her feelings so we could be on her team.
High 5 Katie, you were sensational. Merry Christmas from Australia
Yes, Katie’s facial expressions said it all! I LOVED seeing you on TV – as I cheered at the great questions and boo’ed at the responses, I loved that you could share our feelings with the rest of the world. Thanks for everything you all do for children everywhere!!
Nonverbal communication at it’s best! Your face said it all….all of the stuff we were all thinking. I was making those faces right along with you.
Thanks for being there!
Katie- Thanks! I read your chapter in Mother Warriors so I knew who you were but not what you looked like. I think there were a lot of blank faced “plants” in that audience, but as I was watching you, I knew you had to be one of us, a mom with a medically injured child. I asked my fellow Bio-Med moms who you were as we were live chatting during the hearing, and I kept yelling at the TV like my husband yells during football games. You and I were reacting in sync, and I asked, “Who is the woman in the gray sweater? I am in love with her!” Your dad did a nice job with his testimony as well. Thank you thank you. I hope that finally this house of cards is crumbling. I think it is…
Thank you so much for this post! I watched the hearings and noticed you in the group early on!!
I was not able to attend but I want to thank you for being there – there are so many mamas out there that support you and The Thinking Moms’ Revolution.
Thank you Katie! I think the siblings of autistic kids will lead the way to real change and healing for their siblings and future generation of children just beacuse they know so much more than the “experts” ever will. Parents are trying, but we are too tired and busy taking care of our sick kids. Wishing your family a peaceful and happy Christmas, and lots of healing for Christian.