What Would Rick Santorum Do For Autism? (video)

Before last night’s vote, 9-year-old Sam Wessels asked each of the five Republican candidates what they would do to help children with learning disabilities including autism. In  each of five YouTube videos, Sam describes himself as on the autism spectrum.

As ABC News notes, Sam and his mother, Lynn Wessels, started their political advocacy in July, with Sam speaking to former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty. His “mission” has been to meet all the Republican candidates; the only ones he has not spoken to are Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman. Lyn Wessels also says they would be glad to speak to President Barack Obama, but “they have not had the opportunity.”

The candidates’ responses seem, for the most part, in keeping with their political platforms, as summarized by ABC News:

Ron Paul said providing more individual liberty, and less government intervention, would solve the problem. Mitt Romney blamed Capitol Hill’s playing politics for shortchanging science, but he reassured the crowd that that didn’t mean he would increase spending and handouts. Santorum advocated putting education in the hands of the states and out of the federal government. Newt Gingrich heaped praise on Wessels but somewhat skirted the question, saying that science would find the answer without saying how. Michele Bachmann said the country needs to reform spending to make more resources available for helping children like Sam.

Sam wears a Rick Santorum button when speaking to the candidate. While a senator from Pennsylvania, Santorum helped to sponsor the Combating Autism Act (CAA), which was passed in August of 2006 and allocated $950 million in spending over five years on for research about autism, screening and diagnosis and education and treatment. On September 30, President Barack Obama signed H.R. 2005, “The Combating Autism Reauthorization Act,” ensuring that crucial programs for autism early detection, surveillance, research, education, awareness and treatment will receive funding for three more years. In particular, the CAA called for early childhood education in the form of early intervention of young children, after screening and diagnosis of, again, young children: Early intervention is broadly supported as extremely important for autistic children, among parents, teachers, therapists, doctors and other medical professionals.

Santorum, despite his sponsorship of the CAA, has said that he opposes early-childhood education programs because they are our government’s attempt to “indoctrinate your children” and “it is a parent’s responsibility to educate their children.”  In other words, his solution for helping children with learning disabilities including autism is to do away with  something — educational programs for young children — that help autistic children and that is a central part of a landmark bill he himself supported.

In his video, Sam had asked Santorum:

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that one in five American children has a learning disability today. Mine is autism. What is happening to America’s most precious resource, her children? And what do you plan to do about it? Thank you.”

It seems that what Santorum really plans to do for autistic children is not what actually helps them.

 

Related Care2 Coverage

Morning Mix: Can We Talk About the Caucus?

Santorum Opposes Early Childhood Education

Two Important Autism Bills Signed Into Law

 

Photo by Gage Skidmore

29 comments

Lenore Kudaka
Lenore K3 months ago

ok

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Muriel C.
Muriel C5 years ago

The more I read about Santorum, the more I think he belongs in an asylum, not on the Campaign trail.

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Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago

What if Santorum is autistic himself? :-(

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Caitlin K.
Caitlin K5 years ago

For those wondering what Obama has done for Autism, the list is rather extensive and can be read here. http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/disabilities

For those claiming he has done nothing (except to help "pump Mercury through our kids"), perhaps you should do some research before spouting off. Furthermore, the type of mercury used in some vaccines is not the type that harmfully accumulates in the body. Scientists are still studying vaccines to examine risks for causing harm, but currently no link to autism has been found and all previously proposed links disproved.
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/Autism/Index.html
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Concerns/thimerosal/thimerosal_faqs.html

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Jacobo V.
jacobo Van5 years ago

This is the shallow approach we can expect when it comes to examining reasons to go to war with any given nation? God Bless

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Patrick F.
Patrick f5 years ago

put them in prison?

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Christine D. L.

He only knows what to do with dead babies.......he brings them home to play with. His own kid is a retard.....she should actually be in an institution.

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Barbara V.
Barbara V5 years ago

Kill heath care for it, of course.

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Julia W.
Julia W5 years ago

Like Sam, who put on his headphones at about 2:30, I couldn't listen to Santorum's non-answer. At least Romney was breif in his brush-off non answer. But it was Bachman's petting him that really upset me: she clearly knows nothing about autism or any autistic folks. (Many autists do no like to be touched.)

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Jamie Clemons
Jamie C5 years ago

What would he do for autism? Make autism victims look normal.

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