As an autism parent, I have a deep interest in seeing autism research proceed toward understanding and results with as few roadblocks or distractions as possible. So, for me, one of the most notable elements of IMFAR 2011 was seeing the Autism Science Foundation and Autism Speaks working alongside each other toward common goals, in the Autism Science Foundation’s tradition of “Funding Outstanding Science.”
Anyone who has read my personal blog for more than a month or two knows I have been openly critical of Autism Speaks’ actions. I believe they have made some questionable decisions in how they approach and portray autism — but then so have I.
If I’m going to give myself permission to evolve, I can’t very well fault them for past choices when their present direction includes wide-ranging funding of promising science, and listening to the community by broadening their support for adults with autism. I believe that, in terms of AS’s science focus, they are fast evolving towards the organization I’d always hoped they could be, given their size and influence. Seeing the current results of their investment in promising science was truly heartening.
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