Special Education News in Brief

Autism Activist Quits Over Research Vote on Vaccine Link

By Christina A. Samuels — January 21, 2009 1 min read

Alison Tepper Singer, an executive with the New York City-based Autism Speaks, resigned last week because of a disagreement with the advocacy group’s stance on vaccines as a possible cause of autism.

Ms. Singer, who was the executive vice president until her Jan. 13 resignation, is a member of the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, which provides input into the direction of federal research in autism.

During a Jan. 14 meeting of the committee, Ms. Singer voted with the majority to refer two vaccine-safety studies to another federal agency, rather than fund them in the current research cycle.

Autism Speaks supports further research into vaccine safety; Ms. Singer believes research money is better spent in other areas. She resigned rather than cast a vote the organization would not support, she said.

The federal research plan “can no longer be supported by the autism community,” Bob Wright, a co-founder of Autism Speaks, said in a statement.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 21, 2009 edition of Education Week

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