The autism crisis was created by autism advocates. Thanks to autism advocacy, the existence of autistics is now widely regarded and treated as a devastating epidemic--as posing a great and immediate threat to families, communities, the economy, and society as we know it.
Crisis creation has been one of autism advocacy's greatest achievements. Public policy is based on this crisis model of autism, in which virtually all autistics are young children who must be saved from the abyss of autism right now in order to save the future of society itself. Because the heroic effort to save autistic children from autism has been and continues to be costly (in many ways), public policy also now often encompasses the ideal that autism should be prevented.
In this autism-advocacy-created autism crisis, older autistics exist only in the future, as a looming danger to the public good. Unless there is funding for unlimited ABA, autism advocates threaten that an unprecedented epidemic of autistic children will grow up autistic--which means doomed (in fact, rotten), and large, violent and destructive, and institutionalized and horribly expensive. The fact that older autistics, the vast majority of whom have not been in ABA programs starting early in life, have not already destroyed the economy is just proof that we don't actually exist.
So one question is, when did autism advocates start this autism crisis? Or in other words, how long has this autism crisis been going on? I'd like to know. In a quick look-round, the earliest declaration of an autism crisis I found comes from Cure Autism Now. CAN claimed there was an autism crisis starting in 2000, or more than eight years ago:
"Today, autism is a national crisis affecting over 400,000 families and costing the nation over 13 billion dollars a year. According to recent studies, as many as 2 in every 1000 children born today will be on the autistic spectrum."In 2002, Lee Grossman, President and CEO of Autism Society of America, declared that "autism is an emergency, and it is a national health crisis."
In the UK, the Guardian declared an autism crisis in 2002, and described autistic children as a "timebomb building in UK schools."
A "Canadian autism crisis" was declared by Autism Society Canada in 2001, or more than seven years ago. ASC has not at any time declared an end to this autism crisis. Indeed, in 2005 and 2006 this autism crisis was "growing" and currently, according to an ASC advisor (who cites a TV program, "The View," as his source), autism is definitely still a crisis.
CAN's successor, Autism Speaks, currently disseminates the claim that autism is "a national public health crisis" on every Autism Speaks press release (this one is about new Autism Speaks board members, none of whom is identified as autistic: autistics, autistics everywhere, and not a single autistic on the board, or anywhere else in Autism Speaks' leadership).
So apart from asking when this autism-advocacy-created autism crisis started, seeing as it has continued for more than eight years, another question is, when will it end? Or will it end? After all, creating and perpetuating an autism crisis is a piece of cake. Autism advocates have successfully placed themselves above scrutiny and criticism, such that none of their false claims, no matter how contradictory or outlandish or extreme, never mind harmful to autistics, is ever questioned.
Testifying in the senate some time ago, I pointed out the obvious: autism advocates have been very successful in their perpetual autism crisis creation. So it is difficult to imagine any amount of resources and recognition that would satisfy autism advocates and their demand for a world as free of autism--of autistic people--as possible. It is unlikely that Canada or any other country has enough resources to meet the urgent and constant demands of autism advocates.
My wild guess is that so long as there are autism advocates, and so long as they dominate public policy and the public discourse about autism, there will continue to be an autism crisis. And this crisis--which is really an autism advocacy crisis--will continue to stand in the way of autistics having good outcomes.
Addendum: Many thanks to a reader who passed along some evidence that the autism crisis was first declared in 1999. See this, this, and this.
[Conflict of interest declaration: I'm affiliated with a research group which receives funding from Autism Speaks, among other funding sources.]