5 Reasons Donald Trump May NOT be a Good Choice for the Autism Community

I recently shared a funny online image of Sesame Street’s Elmo with the caption:
 
 “Share if you think Elmo will make a better president than Donald Trump”
 
It got more “likes” than anything I’ve posted to my social media group (of parents who have children with Asperger’s). The consensus from the parents who connect with me on social media?
 
Elmo wins — hands down!
 
So I did a little research. To find out Donald Trump’s views on the autism community. I’ve got to be honest — it doesn’t look good! Here’s 5 reasons you may not want to vote Trump if you care at all about people on the autism spectrum:
 
1. Trump on autism and vaccines:
 
In a Presidential debate with Ben Carson and Rand Paul (September 16th 2015) Trump stated:
 
“We had so many instances, people that work for me, just the other day, 2 years old, a beautiful child, went to have the vaccine and came back and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”
 
Since then he’s been tweeting that he’s been “proved right” and that “doctors lied”. Not exactly evidence based science. And certainly jumping to a few rapid conclusions.
 
To the best of my knowledge no piece of scientific research has ever proven vaccines cause autism. This whole debate has been so unhelpful for people on the autism spectrum and their families. It creates guilt in parents who gave their children vaccines and ‘wonder’ if this caused issues for their children. Not to mention the physical risk to many children, denied vaccines as a result of the fears.
 
It goes deeper too. The anti-vaccine agenda has taken funding (and the spotlight) away from more helpful topics; like how best to raise a child with ASD. Philosophical damage too. The whole debate is couched in negativity. The idea being that autism is caused by something; so needs a cure. Not exactly promoting the lives of people with ASD.
 
 2. Trump on accepting people who are different to him:
 
Last November Trump was caught on camera in what looked like a deliberate mocking of New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski. Kovaleski has a condition which affects his ability to fully control his arms. Trump was seen on stage apparently imitating him by flapping his arm deliberately. 
 
Draw your own conclusions how he might view people with differences on the autism spectrum.
 
3. Trump on legal rights for people with differences:
 
Donald Trump has been sued numerous times under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2011 the US Department of Justice took action over his Trump Taj Mahal casino in New Jersey. Just a few of their findings were: no signs indicating parking for people with disabilities in the self-park garage . . . a number of bathrooms lacking proper Braille for visually impaired people. . . counter surfaces in the buffet not at a proper height for individuals in wheelchairs.
 
Seems “the Don” may not be the strongest advocate for disability rights on planet earth.
 
4. Trump on taking action for people with disabilities.
 
Trump was quoted as saying “I have tremendous respect for people who are physically challenged and have spent tens of millions of dollars throughout buildings all over the world on making them handicapped accessible and ADA compliant.”
 
An interesting twist when it appears the likely reason for such spending, certainly in the case of the Taj Mahal , was enforced. Not due to some “respectful” gesture to people with disabilities.
 
5. Trump on other groups of people that are not like him:
 
On people from Mexico:
 
 “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me — and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.” (how not to treat your close neighbors).
 
On people who are gay:
 
 “I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I am a traditionalist.” (seems a touch contradictory at best).
 
On equality for women:
 
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.” (not exactly the most empowering image for women).
 
Now Donald Trump doesn’t talk so much explicitly about autism (except his ‘views’ on the whole vaccine thing) but he doesn’t seem to exactly embrace difference in others. Draw your own conclusions. But to me Donald Trump doesn’t seem a likely candidate to positively pursue an agenda for people on the autism spectrum. What do you think? Please share your thoughts and comments in the “Response” box at the bottom of this page.

To political agendas,
Dave Angel

PS For daily Asperger’s parenting tips — https://www.facebook.com/dailyaspergerstips/