Thursday, April 05, 2007

Katie Wright Hildebrand and Becky Grant-Widen Join
National Autism Association Board

I am delighted to see Ms. Wright Hildebrand lending her considerable talents and passion to NAA.

NAA is putting dollars into the hands of needy families and funding research with immediately actionable results for our kids.

I'll look forward to seeing Katie and Becky at the NAA conference in Atlanta in November. I am on the conference committee.

You can read the entire press release here:


Anonymous said...

Autism Speaks is a money grubbing sham built by the rich, for the rich to make a handful of researchers rich and keep the pharmaceutical companies rich and the CDC safely insulated from their murderous path.

autismspeaksawareness said...

God, Anon, spew a little more venom? Autism Speaks has done an excellent job of getting awareness info out to the general public. They had the money to run a major ad campaign over the last two years and that's been a positive.

Kelly said...

Way to go Katie! Not an easy step with Autism Speaks sitting across from you at your holiday table.

On the board at SafeMinds too! You couldn't have joined two better organizations. This is just fantastic news. I wish you all the best and for Christian's continued progress.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

This is great news! We wish Katie the best and appreciate her time and support as a parent of a child who has autism. I saw the comment on Opray today about vaccines. Thank you for saying what no one has the courage to talk about. I am sure that was extremely difficult for you to say. Although clearly there is a genetic component to Autism, the environmental factors are very real and can be controlled better.

Anonymous said...

I would like Katie to have explained on Oprah the hardships that truly go on in families when it comes to accessing services and finding funding for so many services and biomedical interventions....apparently she doesn't have to worry about that.

Katie and Suzanne live in their own little world.....Autism Speaks could do a lot more than just promote themselves which seems to be their main interest from what I can see.

Kim Stagliano said...

No - the gentleman talked about the financial hardships and he covered it well, describing how he felt when he sold his house. Katie was not there as a representative of Autism Speaks - I do not believe she is on their board - she is on the board of NAA. You can't blame her for being well to do and more than you can blame me for being so very very beautiful. :)


Anonymous said...

Katie and gang are clearly a traveling sideshow....I look up to much more informed and intelligent people in the autism community.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get to tune into the Oprah show...I am told that Tepper-Singer was also on. Did she talk about driving her daughter off a bridge again? Classy. These are the people we are supposed to respect and look up to? No thanks!

loveconquersall said...

It is not but ONE seed that a garden grows.

Thank you Katie for being brave enough to sow the seed of knowledge, for which the garden of truth can grow.

kimtheblogowner said...

Anon = Bridge? You lost me! And you CAN use your name. I don't bite. I don't flame. I just ate a delicious dinner with my familym one child had a successful bathroom trip and I am in a fine fettle. Really, no need to hide.


Anonymous said...

Tepper-Singer stated in the Autism Everyday video that she wanted to drive her daughter off a bridge. You don't remember that?! Many people were upset by her comment. This is not a person I would listen to regarding ANYTHING! She needs help.

And the only reason Katie Wright is on Oprah is because she has a rich daddy!

kimtheblogowner said...

Anon- now I know what you're talking about. The drive off a bridge thing. Yes, it did sound rather unstable for a mother to say on camera she'd harbored thoughts of murdering her child. But we know parents of autistic kids DO sometimes murder them in fits of despair? rage? anguish? Even the doc from Chicago who worked with autistic children killed her daughter, Katie McCarron I believe was the child's name? (dip for a prayer) In my darkest moments of exhaustion, watching my newborn wail, my toddler spin and scream and my 6 year old seize uncontrollably while my husband was on business abroad - I never once thought "I can end this." Never. But I can't claim to know how other parents think.

That Katie is a member of "the lucky sperm club" as my husband calls those whose parents are wealthy doesn't mean she isn't capable of honest emotion on the subject,

Thanks for coming back - I'd greet you by name but....


Anonymous said...

I'd much rather see you on Oprah and hear about your honest person truly struggling. Let's face it....Katie has no idea what it means to really struggle...she probably has two nannies, a housekeeper and an endless bank account. She is clueless and she turns people off. Let's get people out there who we can all relate to.

Katie Wright and her traveling companions are getting repetitive.

Mom without a manual said...

Prior to today, I would have agreed with the last visitor about only the wealthy autism families being heard on these shows. The wealthy families really do live a different reality than us struggling folk. But the Dad on the Autism Speaks video connected with me today.

They showed a picture of their house. The house they sold when they moved in with the Grandma. It was a very modest house. Without a doubt he can represent me.

I am a family struggling to make it and not able to afford the therapies my son needs. I am struggling to do a Verbal Behavior program ON MY OWN. I have hired and trained college students to help out. I find that insane. Who am I to train them on discrete trials? We are my son's therapists. We have no choice.

Besides even if we had the money our state hardly has any services available. Our schools provide relatively nothing and parents can't even find professionals to hire privately. Oh, and did I mention that I live in one of the top 50 metro areas in the US.

Very sad.

Anonymous said...

Dear mom without a manual:

I am sure if you were Suzanne Wright's daughter she'd get you into the McCarton school no problem. The rest of us peons wouldn't stand a chance.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I thought Katie was brave.

When that woman on the video talked of sometimes wanting to drive off a bridge it made me feel less alone.

In my darkest moments with my daughter I fantasized about ending it all. I didn't actively want to die, I didn't "have a plan" and I would never want to hurt my child, but I wanted the pain to stop. I felt pure helplessness and despair, with no relief in sight.
(Hadn't heard of bio-med yet. My child screamed all day every day).

The last thing a mom in that position needs is more judgement heaped on her.

We autism moms have all had enough of that already.

Laura said...

Need to go watch the Oprah I tivoed, but I think it's great that Katie is on the boards at NAA and Safeminds! Covers a lot more area than Autism Speaks, which is clearly focused on general awareness at this time. And general awareness isn't bad -- it gets the "regular" people out there involved more in our worlds!

I, too, think the bridge comment is honest and not to be faulted. I have my Calgon moments, where I wonder to myself what would happen if...(insert dark thought here). I would never act on these things, but sometimes you have to consider the worst case scenario (Mommy dies in bizarre accident when she sticks head in the oven after GFCF brownies fail to win over the kids!) to feel better about the status quo. Then again, I have a dark sense of humor.

kimtheblogowner said...

Laura, get your head out of your.... OVEN. Bob's Red Mill or Gluten Free Pantry brownies. YUM. And Namaste spice cake is fantastic. I admit to making sure Mark's life insurance premiumis ALWAYS paid in full and on time. If one of us has to go he has a lot more $$ associated with him! LOL.

irene said...

We also recorded Oprah but haven't watched yet, so I can't comment on the show. So I will comment on the comments: For a long time I did not want to associate with other parents of autistic children b/c A: I didn't want to see those who were "less severe." I didn't want to be jealous and frustrated at PEOPLE. B: I didn't want to see those who were "more severe" b/c I didn't want to be THANKFUL for my situation, knowing it could be so much worse. I wanted to be ANGRY still.

I've had to get over that. In finally getting to know other families with special needs children I realize that we all have unique struggles: no community support but loads of cash, no cash but lots of love and encouragment, no knowledge but loads of cash, goes on and on. Each burden is heavy nonetheless. My friend's child can speak and write and do math but she eats glass and plastic and can't handle change. My son is very "go with the flow" but he CAN'T write or read and can speak only a handful of words. So who's better off? Does that mean her case is easy? I don't think she'd agree and I would not agree mine is easy either. There's always someone who has more $$ and someone who has less. I shudder at the thought of those families who have less than we do b/c we can barely make it and still don't provide ALL the needed therapies (behavioral & medical). There are those out there who would say that WE are not fit to represent. I'm just happy that SOMEONE is representing, ANYONE tell the world that there is a problem a BIG problem.

I have had my share of dark escape fantasies...usually along the lines of a freak accident that would conveniently take all 5 of us so no one would be left burdened w/o a parent or as a single parent or someone else w/three orphans or w/even just one orphaned autistic child but just RANDOM, complete ACCIDENT, 5 new angels in heaven. I try not to dwell on that much so recently I've taken to praying for the second coming! It's a little more positive in that way. Hey God, it being Easter and 'bout Sunday? That would work for me!!
~hanging in there w/the rest of you

Kim said...

Whoa, anonymous -- That's a lot of anger toward Katie...

Regular folks can and do get into schools like McCarton in NYC -- but these schools only have so many places, they cannot take every kid. The shame is that even in NYC, a place with lots of parents with loads of $$$ and loads of special needs kids (and some families who fall into both categories!), there are not enough schools that do a good job educating ASD kids. There are more schools opening and regular folks do get in to these schools (my experience and those of my friends suggests that usually the school cares about whether the child fits the school's target population and not who the child's grandparents are -- which is more than you can say about a lot of NT private schools!) and struggle to pay tuition and seek reimbursement from the gov't when the school district does not offer an appropriate spot. And in some communities (too many) there are not even options to inappropriate placements and parents have little or no choice, regardless of how much $$$ they do or do not have.

I also think it is a little harsh to suggest that it is any less painful having an ASD child just because you may have more money than most people. No amount of $ can make it less painful for caring loving parents. Plus, unless you are Katie's close friend, you don't really know Katie's situation as far as $, childcare etc. (nor do I and it is her personal business). Sure, $ can make it easier to pay for services and medical care and people with more money are fortunate to be able to access those services but in many parts of the country (even affluent areas) the services simply don't exist or are rare. Do I wish I had more money to fight these battles. You betcha. Do I hate Katie Wright-Hildebrand because she may have more money than I do. Nope. Ihave too much other stuff to accomplish to hate her for trying to do her best by her son and to raise awareness in whatever way she can -- and if having Bob & Suzanne Wright as her parents opens doors for her to do so, I can't blame her for taking those opportunities, I would probably do the same.

kimtheblogownernotkimsaid said...

Kim - well said. One of the things I remember Suzanne Wright saying when I met her last year was "In spite of all our money, we still had no idea what to do for Christian."

Cheryl Bailey said...

Adding a line here as the Mom of one Aspie and one profoundly hit vaccine damaged child who lost EVERYTHING and we started over with him at age 3. The child we had died, his body was taken over by a stranger. I have been telling his story for 10 years now, and only yesterday did I feel someone heard...when Katie spoke. Drop the anger toward her and her money, she still suffered a huge loss in her life and no amount of money takes that pain away. She could hide, treat her son in private, never say one public word, but she stood up yesterday for every family that ever lost a child to a living death and told the truth. Oprah, thank God is so stinking rich that she cannot have her silence bought by the drug companies. Best day I have had in 20 years of specturm life, truly, nobody need knock how the show went or who was on it or what Katie did or did not say, she took a stand, and took the heat. THANK YOU KATIE!!!

Chuck said...

I thought Katie did a great job on the Oprah's first autism related show. For Katie to mention autism and vaccines together on a nationwide broadcast that reaches so many people was pioneering,brave,sacrificial and mountain moving.


kimtheblogowner said...

To follow up on the money issue. I think that if Autism Speaks had funneled some money in some way to parents with kids on the spectrum there would less of a backlash. NAA offers the Helping Hand grant. If Autism Speaks had developed a family grant from day one they would be looked upon more kindly. While Katie was on Oprah her Dad was ringing the stock market bell. That looked unseemly to me. It really did.

Kim S.

Ashley loves Leo said...

I'm so happy to see that you'll be on the board. Be nice, Kim.

Or wait, don't be nice.

Or, wait, just be Kim.

kimtheblogowner said...

Oh, and I should point out - Katie Hildenbrand is not synonymous with Bob and Suzanne Wright or Autism Speaks. She's an independent woman making her best decisions for her own child. That her father rang hte stock bell has nothing to do with Katie or her appearance on Oprah. I should make that clearer. I wasn't connecting the dots between the two, though it looked that way.

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