Autism advertisements enrage patient advocacy groups

Autism advertisements enrage patient advocacy groups

Arnold, Matthew

A PROVOCATIVE awareness campaign on mental health problems in kids by New York University Child Study Center drew condemnation from an advocacy group for autism-spectrum disorder patients.

Print and outdoor ads, executed pro bono by BBDO, ape ransom notes, and are signed by Autism, ADHD, Asperger Syndrome, Depression, Bulimia and OCD.The autism ad warns readers: “We will make sure he will not be able to care for himself or interact socially as long as he lives.This is only the beginning.”

Leaders of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and other groups said: the ads “reinforced many of the worst stereotypes that have prevented children and adults with disabilities from gaining inclusion, equality and full access to the services and supports they require.”

NYU said it has received positive as well as negative feedback and does not plan to tone down the campaign. “Our goal on this was to initiate dialogue, and that’s just what’s happening,” said NYU’s Beth Rowan, head of PR for the Center. -MA

Copyright Haymarket Media, Inc. Jan 2008

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