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Autism Speaks' Geraldine Dawson on "The Diversity of Investment"

Money backs of children

By Anne Dachel

On Friday, Feb 22, 2013, Autism Speaks Chief Science Officer Geri Dawson, Ph.D., gave the opening talk at the world's first Autism Investment Conference and explained why now is the time to make a profit from a nightmare.  Autism Speaks' Geraldine Dawson: On the "diversity of investment opportunities that exist in the autism field"

Read more about this landmark Autism Speaks conference

I watched the 20 minute video of Geraldine Dawson's speech to the "autism investors."  First of all, she smiled throughout.  Maybe it's just me, but it's very hard for me to talk about autism and not sound tense and worried.  She also described herself as being "excited" about a number of topics.  Again, it seems totally out-of-place when talking about a lifelong disability like autism.  Her main purpose was to announce all the investment (money-making) possibilities out there because of the raging epidemic of neurologically damaged children.  She defined autism and said its prevalence is growing.  She didn't specifically tell us why, but the message was clear---it's a genetic disorder.  She never mentioned the word "regression," but she pointed out that the symptoms don't typically appear until around age two and she was quite interested in diagnosing it in babies.  She created her own fairy tale world about the advances being made in autism. 

One point she made was stunning.  Dawson said, "Of course the cost of autism has also increased. So as in 2005, we estimated that the cost of autism was about $35 billion a year, we now estimate that the cost of autism is ....about $37 billion annually, and most of that is for adult care."

What?  Autism costs $37 billion a year and the money is being used mostly for adults with autism?  How does that work when the vast majority of Americans with autism are under the age of 18?  Can someone explain that to me?  Furthermore, what's autism going to cost when the generation of children with autism reach adulthood?  No matter.  Dawson didn't go into details.  It was just a passing remark.

The real message here was: autism is happening more and more and there are lots of ways to make money from genetically defective children.  The time to invest is now.  Carpe diem all you for-profit companies.  Autism Speaks is here to show you how.

Here's what Dr. Dawson had to say about autism and why investors should be interested.

"There is a great need for new products."

"Because of the progress of science, I think there is greater opportunity right now to develop more effective diagnostic and treatment methods.... The moment is right for this kind of conference."

(She then thanked the sponsors, one of whom was Shire Pharmaceutical.)

"Autism is a public health challenge, in fact many people would say autism is a public health crisis because over the last forty years it has increased in prevalence over a thousand percent, which is really quite remarkable. ..."

"Of course the cost of autism has also increased. So as in 2005, we estimated that the cost of autism was about $35 billion a year, we now estimate that the cost of autism is ....about $37 billion annually, and most of that is for adult care." 

(She went on to say that the cost was also rising for the UK at the same rate.)

She defined autism in its various forms and symptoms.  "About 30 percent of people with autism do not learn to speak with words."

"We have very few services and treatments for adults. ... This is an area of great need.  ..."

Dawson gave statistics for adults with autism:

Most adults are living at home, "socially isolated and unengaged."

"Less than a fifth of high functioning adults with autism are able to find employment after high school."  Dawson mentioned depression and anxiety among adults, along with housing needs. 

The mortality rate is six times higher than the general population.  They have health conditions.

So how is Autism Speaks helping?  4 ways, Dawson said:

First, they're raising awareness. 

Second, advocacy...things like insurance reform and services.

Third, they aid with referrals.

Fourth, they invest in research.  "Our science budget is about 25 to 30 million dollars annually.  About half of that is investigator initiated awards and about half is targeted, staff-driven areas of research. To date, we have committed over 180 million dollars to research in the area of autism."

She talked about studies on "ideology and biological mechanisms, new methods of diagnosing and phenotyping, and "new approaches to treatment and prevention."

"Dissemination science" is also an area of concern.  It involves getting the "empirically validated tools" into use in the community.

"We really are dedicated to improving the lives of people with autism, and thus we're always thinking about how we can move discoveries through development to delivery and have a real impact in people's lives out in the community."

"One of the exciting the new technologies." By that, she meant brain imaging tools and in the area of genetics, sequencing the entire genome."   She noted stem cell research and new drugs to restore the function of neurons. Dawson also cited all the new aps for smart phones and computer tablets to help ASD victims communicate.

Next up was diagnosing breakthroughs and "early risk detection." 

"As we know, the symptoms of autism don't begin to emerge until about twelve to eighteen months of age and the full syndrome does not emerge until eighteen to twenty-four months of age."

Last year, due to a study partially funded by Autism Speaks, "it was discovered that babies who go one to develop autism actually show changes in their brain development that can be detected as early as six months of age."

Dawson said this discovery was so important for early intervention and "PREVENTING THOSE SYMPTOMS FROM OCCURRING IN THE FIRST PLACE."

"Another very exciting initiative is our collaboration with the Beijing Genome Institute...."    

"As many of you know, the investments that we've made in genetics are really starting to pay off.  First of all, we've discovered that autism genetics is very complex.  There are many genes involved, certainly over a hundred, probably over a thousand autism risk genes contribute to the disorder."   

She went on to talk about drug development.     

Their ultimate goal seems to be to "partner with the for-profit community to accelerate the development of diagnostics, technologies, drugs--products that promise to improve the lives of people with autism."

Her next focus was "The Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network." 
"This is a collaboration among 17 academic medical centers across the U.S. and Canada, 350 clinicians, 6 medical specialties.  We directly serve about 30,000 children annually. ... There is a patient registry where all the children evaluated in the clinic have detailed information... this allows us to understand what are the most concerning presenting problems... "

She was also "very excited" about the publication of new guidelines for physicians, endorsed by the journal, Pediatrics. 

She ended by saying, "Our success ...really depends on partnerships."

"These partnerships are with families,  they're with the government, they're with other non-profit organizations, but also we need to partner with the investment community, with the private sector.  And so today, what we want to do is connect people who have good ideas and innovative ideas with people who have the resources to bring those ideas to market.  So what we want to do today is first educate the investment community about the scale and also diversity of investment opportunities that exist in the autism field.  Then second, we want to showcase both new and established companies so that they have an opportunity to show you the products that they're working on.  And then third, we want to provide opportunities for networking so that partnerships can develop. So I'm very excited about the day ahead.  I think it's going to be productive. I should also mention that we hope to do this annually and this will grow. So this is just the beginning of what I hope will be a successful endeavor. Thank you very much."


L Land

I stand corrected for the Ferengi. The Collective cares its own. My apologies the the Borg for comparing them to AS.


"There is no greater bonanza for Big Pharma than creating millions of brain damaged children by pushing on them toxic vaccines and then pretending to manage their diseases with toxic psychotropic drugs."

So true.

This is unfortunately the model for MUCH of Industrial Medicine.

Long ago when I was a kid what we now know as Type II Diabetes was called SUGAR diabetes. It was called SUGAR diabetes for a simple reason; it was known that those who ate large amounts of SUGAR often got SUGAR diabetes, where too much SUGAR was showing up in the victim's blood. Back then this country ate about 15% of its calories as SUGAR. Today we eat about 25% of our calories as SUGAR. Back then no one under the age of 50 commonly got SUGAR diabetes. Today kids 10 years old are getting SUGAR diabetes. You do not live much more than 30 years after you "get" SUGAR diabetes. The last 15 years are often hell on earth.

Patient: Doc I have this disease called SUGAR diabetes; what do I do?

Doctor: Well my man the name of your disease tells you! Just STOP eating SUGAR and simple carbs which your body quickly converts to SUGAR!

Patient: Doc I have this disease called Type II diabetes; what do I do?

Doctor: Well my man we have this drug regimen I will put you on immediately. Then ...

More complex "health problems" such as Cancer and CVD are only slightly more devious. Like SUGAR DIABETES they are often Medical Frauds designed to "treat" not cure. MOST of the time the "CURE" is nothing but eating good food and not the FDA blessed garbage found on 90% of our supermarket shelf space.

Of course eating good food is slated to become impossible as there are over 800 good raw unprocessed foods that are to be made GMO and thus toxic. IMO these GMO "foods" will kill you faster than SUGAR.


Should we be writing directly to her to ask what has brought about this turn around ? If nothing else she deserves a fairly hard talking to but some PR for her previous activity would be PR for the broader cause.

Some action on this is required I believe.


"First of all, she smiled throughout. "

Gerri Dawson has CSD - Compulsive Smiling Disorder, which makes her much better qualified to be employed as Bozo the clown than as the Chief Science Officer of the world's largest autism charity. Her smile while she talks about this terrible disorder just seems to magnify the evilness of her role in the epidemic.

Carolyn M

L Land,

Instead of the Borg, the Ferengi may be more appropriate - especially considering the profit motive.


"The Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network. This is a collaboration among 17 academic medical centers across the U.S. and Canada, 350 clinicians, 6 medical specialties."

Ah yes the modern model of Industrial Medicine. First you need a base of "patients" simply add MONEY and all the "treatment" you could ever wish for will appear as if by magic. To contribute to PROFITS it is important that this "treatment" does not reduce the patient base; increasing it is excellent; thus toxic drugs to treat symptoms and cure nothing are preferred. Of course you also need LOADS of EXPERTS and AUTHORITY to bless the whole insane Industry.

Maximize your patient base and increased PROFITS will follow as night follows day. Autism and the diseases of "vaccination" are doubling about every 3.5 years.

So the Autism branch of Industrial Medicine looks to have a bright future if somehow we can just keep those tens of millions of mothers "VACCINATING".


How can Autism Speaks identify Geraldine Dawson as a "science officer"?? She knows nothing about physical science and chemistry...maybe numbers...but does not seem to understand what the numbers mean.


from Seattle, home of University of Washington where Geraldine Dawson worked and jumped onto the profitable band-wagon of autism...her speech and attitude does not surprise many here...the word spread she felt sorry for the school districts that had to deal with all these kids with autism...not the kids...and often the parent were left without a diagnosis and had to go to Children's Hospital for help, even though UW had an Autism Center and were suppose to be experts. The UW used a diagnosis of NON-VERBAL learning disorder under her leadership because...well...because there just could not that many cases coming to them. Autism Speaks needs to fire Geraldine Dawson.

L Land

The Borg is going for profit!

Angus Files

Elizabeth sadly you are so right .In the UK Tony Blair coined the phrase continuation of Government’s ...meaning. Despite who we vote in to power....the same situation shall continue...AYE! RIGHT ON..TONY..

That’s why we all need to steer clear of the main parties and vote for the marginal parties within reason who support our cause..

Sure you don’t need me to write that but ....the UK is pharma controlled cess pit of corrupt judge’s,and criminals mostly vaccine damaged ..but no one gives a monkey ..
they just all tell us vaccines are safe...

Bring me a real Autism/Disabled party I haven’t seen it yet. THAT I CAN VOTE FOR ..No umbrella’s please…


Maurine Meleck

Occupy Geraldine Dawson and Autism Speaks. Even the title of her talk is outrageous and disgusting. Thanks Anne for showing us once again the bad and the ugly of this world.


I am already broke because of Autism and the Australian government will not help out.

But as 'cia parker' states, when these children become adults (my son in 7 years time). It will be the taxpayer that will be paying for them.

Whatever happened to being proactive and helping these children NOW to become as independent as they possibly can.

But, then again, why should the current politicians care, they will all be retired and living-it-up by then!

Our current Federal Government is promising the world, promising to invest Millions into Autism within the next couple of years. "Do they honestly think that we are that stupid?"

We have a Federal election on the 14th September this year and according to the "polls" we will have a new government.

Perhaps the new government will make even more promises that they will not keep!

Elizabeth Gillespie

Angus Files

Lots of prisons would be empty without vaccines...The way it is just now ,everyone becomes a target/victim..When the real criminals print lies on the safety of vaccines..


Geri "now your just somebody that I use to know..." Dawson

What's up with Geri Dawson? bizarre. I had such hopes for Geri Dawson when she went on the Today show and talked about autism as an epidemic and a national health crisis now she's pimping our kids to industry.

Here Geri Dawson on the Today show last year.March 2012,

Vicki Hill

She is probably correct about the huge expense for adults. Children typically live with their parents...but what happens when Mom and Dad are too old to take care of them anymore, or have health problems of their own? Then these adults with autism end up in some sort of supported housing...and the cost is enormous! Plan on $30k - $120k per year. There isn't enough such housing now and very little more is getting built.


That is the message I got from Autism Speaks a decade ago. I did not misunderstand them after all.


"As many of you know, the investments that we've made in genetics are really starting to pay off. First of all, we've discovered that autism genetics is very complex."
(which really means we have not found a damn thing in over a decade)

"There are many genes involved, certainly over a hundred, probably over a thousand autism risk genes contribute to the disorder." (which really means if we ever do find something it will be so mucking complicated that we will never provide any real medical treatments for it)

"The Autism gene seems to act like the neurotoxin ethylmercury and is accelerated by male hormones. From our reaserch at Autism Speaks, we have now determined that the Autism gene "suddenly showed up" in 50 states at the same time in 1991 and placed about 20,000 Autistic children into the school systems by 1996."

"We are now well up over a million, with no end of this growth industry in site... please join us."

thank you Ms. Science, Geraldine Dawson


It IS a Public Health Crisis in her mind - it puts VACCINES in the big blue light and that jeopardizes American "Public Health." Phooey.

Anne Dachel

April 2, 2013, Geraldine Dawson has this on Huffington.

10 Things We Know About Autism That We Didn't Know a Year Ago

"Mysterious" and "Somewhat obscure." These are Dr. Dawson's words to describe an international healthcare disaster. She uses this forum to continue the pretense that someone somewhere is finding answers. There's nothing major here. Her use of the word "prevalence" is a flag for "better diagnosing"---they've always been here, we're just now finding them. There is no demand to find the cause. There's no sense of urgency. The word "environment" appears ONCE with no specific information.

"Public health crisis" is as passionate as she gets about autism and that only appears at the end.

no vac

There is no greater bonanza for Big Pharma than creating millions of brain damaged children by pushing on them toxic vaccines and then pretending to manage their diseases with toxic psychotropic drugs.


Meanwhile back in Realityville, this story appeared on ABC news web site:

"Autism Bankrupts Families, Emotionally and Financially"
ABC news

So, while Dawson panders to industry, autism families go broke.

cia parker

That's easy, why spending on autism has only increased by two billion in the past eight years. They are increasingly making the parents pay. Incidents like the Utah legistlature refusing to help autistic children will increasingly becomoe the norm in a world hit by the tsunami of autism victims. My daughter's insurance wouldn't pay a penny for social skills ABA from Trumpet Behavioral Services. They want to cut even her basic insurance. Who cares whether or not she might be independent if she had therapy now? And when she's an adult in ten years then the state will have to pay to support her. But hey, those in power now will have retired, so let's make hay while the sun shines!

Theresa 66

Some companies would go broke without autism. The way it
is now, just the parents go broke.

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