Seattleites complain about autism message on buses

by: Essex Porter Updated:

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SEATTLE —

Seattle Children's Hospital has apologized for bus ads that offended many in the autistic community and is having them removed from Metro Buses.

They are part of a $70,000 ad campaign that started running last week. The ad shows a child with text that says, "Let's wipe out cancer, diabetes and autism in his lifetime."

The hospital says the ad was meant to highlight its wide ranging research, but advocates for autistic families say the language goes too far. "There's no practical difference as far as we're concerned between the statement wipe out autism and wipe out autistic people," said Matt Young.

Young is autistic and the Washington co-chair of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, and "we need to end the culture of fear desperation and stigma around autism." 

A spokeswoman for Children's says the ad was reviewed by multiple administrators but no one from the autistic community. "We feel very badly that we inadvertently offended anyone," said marketing director Katharine Fitzgerald. "That's certainly not what we want to do at Seattle Children's."