The organization Autism Speaks is run by Katie's parents, Suzanne & Bob Wright. Bob is the former CEO of NBC & currently heads up GE. Katie's son has been helped by DAN! and biomedical, and she has been very vocal about her belief that vaccines triggered her son Christian's autism. Katie showed a wonderful video at the NAA conference in which she shows & describes her son's decline. I believe that the video will be made available, and I'd love for you all to see it.
After Katie showed her video and said a few words, we were given the opportunity to ask questions. A bold audience member asked when Autism Speaks would clean up its act and put the ample funds and the mouthpiece they have created in the right direction. Katie's parents were seated in the audience, and she replied, "Now don't get me in trouble...", but then proceeded to explain that AS is going to make positive changes. This was later confirmed by an NAA officer who sat down with the Wrights. We were not given details, but hopefully there is going to be a sea change at the organization which has in the past solely funded useless research and has allowed anti-treatment gurus asuch as "Autism Diva" to take over their message boards. I find it telling that Katie serves on the board of the NAA rather than Autism Speaks.
Katie appeared on Oprah some months ago and begged for the opportunity to mention the vaccine connection -reportedly she was told she'd be "off the show" by the producers if she did so. Oprah granted her permission over a commercial break, and she was allowed to say a bit (some of which was edited).
To see David Kirby's interview with Katie, go to:
You will see the rest of the interview to the right of this one-it is in 4 parts.
After this interview was distributed, Katie's parents wrote a letter distancing themselves from Katie because they were worried about offending their big contributors. It seems that there has been reconcilliation and the Autism Speaks ship may be slowly turning due to Katie's refusal to back down.
A common refrain in the biomedical community is "Autism Speaks doesn't speak for me."
But YOU do, Katie. And I thank you for being such a powerful voice.