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25 Sep

Whose Problem is Autism? Sharron Angle Vs. Kate Winslet

 

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Lisa Jo Rudy
Autism Blog

By Lisa Jo Rudy, Autism Guide, Saturday September 25, 2010

Whose problem is autism?  Who should pay for the needs of families with autistic members?  Why should anyone outside the autism community give a !@#$ for someone else’s disabled kid, teen, or adult child?

Yesterday, we heard from two very different voices.

In one corner, Sharron Angle – who is running against Harry Reid in the Nevada Senate race – managed to anger autism advocates across the nation yesterday with a callous approach to health care.  Not only did she suggest that autism benefits should be denied because of their expense to the general community, but she also suggested – by making “air quotes” around the term “autism” – that autism itself is a fictitious disorder. An article on a Fox News website cites Angle:

“You’re paying for things that you don’t even need, they just passed the latest one is every, everything they want to throw at us now is covered under autism, so that’s a mandate that you have to pay for,” she said, making air quotes around the word “autism.”

Harry Reid, of course, is making the most of Angle’s statement, calling his senatorial rival “callous” and “heartless.”

In the other corner is glamorous star Kate Winslet, who has just started up a foundation to support innovative housing options for adults with autism. 

 While Winslet isn’t the only celebrity to support the cause of autism with a special foundation, she may be the only one to do so with no personal connection to the issue.  In fact, she says, her decision to create the foundation came as a result of discussing an autism-related documentary with her own typically developing daughter.

Even more impressive than Winslet’s choice to create a foundation focused on others’ needs is her choice of where the money will go.  It’s easy enough to give money in support of adorable children in need of help.  It’s much tougher to think about the needs of adults with disabilities.  Yet according to the Press Association, “[Winslet] plans to establish innovative living communities that offer the opportunity to learn to communicate effectively, education, job training and recreational activities, within a supportive social network.

Winslet’s new organization, the Golden Hat Foundation, is partnering with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Unite. Virgin Unite brings together money and people to tackle international issues, and, according to the Golden Hat Website, “…focuses on great ideas and areas where they feel there is a gap where their entrepreneurial energy and convening power can make a difference.”

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A Mothers Courage trailer from Amothers courage on Vimeo.

At: Golden Hat Foundation

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