Like many in the autism related blogosphere, I rejoiced yesterday when I heard that the NYU "Ransom Notes" campaign had been pulled by its director, Dr. Harold Koplewicz. I had blogged about my ethical concerns with this campaign, and felt that the campaign demeaned those who had those conditions, and would only further continued ostracizing and marginalizing by the public at large.
It is a huge thing for someone to stop an ad campaign that is just getting underway. I am sure that there were a lot of people that had a lot invested in designing and implementing that campaign, and it was hard for them just to scrap it. It is a testament to Ari Ne'eman's astute perception of the exact tone to strike in opposing this campaign, and his organizing prowess that this victory took place.
At the same time, I give Dr. Koplewicz credit for his part in this. Having launched a big campaign, and after reviewing the large outpouring of negative comments, he was willing to not let his ego stop him from doing what was the right thing. As I stated in my original post, there is much in his past stated comments, as well as publications, to think that he is not the enemy of autistics and others with various conditions. When someone stops, apologizes, and asks for input, I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt.
I think it is a major step that Dr. Koplewicz proposed a "town hall" forum that would include viewpoints of all the stakeholders of the campaign.
Now that the "relatively easy" part of objecting to what was obviously a very negative and hurtful campaign is over, the real work needs to begin. It is much easier to protest than to come up with positive and catchy slogans and ad campaigns. I have great hope that there are many very creative individuals within the disability community that will help in designing a campaign that all can be proud of, and that will be effective.
On another front, as has been mentioned elsewhere (here and here), The National Institute on Mental Health issued a "Request for Information" asking for input into what kind of autism research should be funded. The deadline for submissions is near (Jan. 4th). Responses need to be limited to two pages, and response needs to be to a particular e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
So put on your thinking caps quickly, get your thoughts together, go to Kathleen Seidel's site to see the entire proposal, and get your submissions in. We all need to make positive contributions to let people know what we expect from our government and private sectors.
Memorial Day redux
11 months ago