Happy Autism Awareness Month! Many of you know that Autism Awareness Day is April 2. Lot to be aware of this year: President Donald Trump turned the White House lights blue in honor of Autism Speaks, and Sesame Street introduced its first autistic muppet (Julia)! Many of you are (very justifiably) too busy to find out if or how the mainstream media bothered to recognize Autism Awareness more broadly. That’s what I’m here for! I googled them and found out for all of us.
What’s the mainstream media? I define it as sources that have had a White House press credential. This weeds out a lot of the riff-raff, left-wing wheat, and right-wing chaff. This is NOT an exhaustive list; some less prestigious sources did autism stories, and some other credentialed media did not. Here we go!
ABC News and the Associated Press, who work together, had an okay piece on Ernie Els and his autism foundation, though it could have gone further.
Bloomberg News went with a piece called SAP harnesses talents of those with autism, and it’s a good one.
The Boston Globe had something worth reading with We’re all aware of autism; now let’s do something radical.
CBS News didn’t seem to have anything new for April, but we can forgive them because they have a whole page dedicated to autism awareness stories.
The Chicago Tribune shone a light on a T-shirt-designing contest that sought to raise awareness – well done.
The Christian Broadcasting Network had this video which is nice but undated. They’re a White House-credentialed organization? Okay.
The Christian Science Monitor had a very nice piece called Arts orgs adapt for visitors with special needs. “Lisa Goring, chief program and marketing officer of the research and advocacy group Autism Speaks, pointed to stagings of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” in New York and London, which had toned-down sound and light effects, as more evidence of theaters adapting. Ms. Goring has advised the audience diversity nonprofit Theatre Development Fund and since 2011, the fund’s Autism Theatre Initiative has presented Broadway performances including “Wicked” and “The Phantom of the Opera.””
CNN had a nice piece called Learning, as an adult woman, you have autism. They quote a 47-year-old woman with autism: “I had never thought about autism, ever ever ever,” she said emphatically. “I thought that autism was ‘Rain Man,’ I thought it was boys… All of the stereotypes I absolutely believed because there’s nothing else out there to dissuade someone.”
Fox News had a nice piece called Legoland builds an autism-friendly experience. A pleasant profile of people working hard at Legoland.
The Huffington Post had a nice sampler platter of How to Support Autism Awareness Month this April. Lot of good links and ideas.
MSNBC featured Liz Feld talking about all things autism.
NBC News had an announcement about the new Autism Guardian Angels. It says: “Autism Guardian Angels (“AGA”) launches with an Autism Awareness Campaign in April 2017, which includes sponsoring the Autism Society of America (ASA) Autfest on April 22-23. This AGA Autism Awareness Campaign will include a social media marketing campaign, an iPad Sweepstakes, Autfest Gold Sponsorship and Golden Goody Award (top humanitarian award sponsored by AGA) that will be presented to ASA VP of Development Matt Asner on April 23.”
The New York Times: nothing new.
NPR had Autism and the drive to explain and explore, very nice. “A paper by researchers M.D. Rutherford and Francys Subiaul, recently published in the journal Autism, offers a fresh approach to investigating our exploratory and explanatory drives by testing whether two populations of children — those diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and those without known developmental delays — differ in how they explore and seek explanations in physical and social domains. The results suggest that children with ASD have a heightened drive to explain — but only in the physical domain.”
Politico: nothing new.
Reuters had a strong article called British robot helping autistic children with their social skills. “Kaspar, developed by the University of Hertfordshire, also sings song, imitates eating, plays the tambourine and combs his hair during their sessions aimed at helping Finn with his social interaction and communication. If Finn gets too rough, the similarly sized Kaspar cries: “Ouch, that hurt me.” A therapist is on hand to encourage the child to rectify his behavior by tickling the robot’s feet.”
Time: nothing new.
USA Today had a strongly worded opinion piece called Time for autism awarenss to grow up. “For this reason I believe that we need to shift our focus to educating our community from diagnosis to the challenges faced by autistic tweens, teens, adults and the elderly. Unlike as with other disabilities, adults in the spectrum are living long lives and will outlive their parents. That is why post-diagnosis, the biggest challenge that we face as parents is caring for and protecting our children while also preparing them to live in a world without us.” As a parent of a small autistic child, I might surprise you by agreeing with this author 100%. But you read my blog, so you won’t be that surprised.
Voice of America: nothing new.
The Wall Street Journal: nothing new.
The Washington Post published the very feisty My three daughters are autistic. I despise Autism Awareness Month. “But illuminating the Eiffel Tower in blue does more to promote an organization than to improve the lives of autistic people and their caretakers. Celebrating talents does little to educate the public on the intense challenges of the diagnosis and the tough aspects of living with the disability. What the autism community needs isn’t a party, but a sense of urgency and true crisis. They need advocates committed not only to getting them the acceptance they deserve, but also the critical help they require to survive, in the form of social programs, education, safety and employment opportunities.”
The Washington Times, considering it’s based in D.C., kinda surprised me with this article about Omaha. But hey, beats having nothing.
But hey, I consider all this attention its own victory. And as for the “nothing new” sources, well, they DO have all month to throw something together. Thanks for reading!