Greg Gerkens is a special education administrator who has directed programs that assist youth in overcoming serious behavior management hurdles. Community-focused, Greg Gerkens supports charitable organizations such as Special Olympics and Autism Speaks. The latter nonprofit recently announced it would no longer include “seeking a cure” for the disorder as part of its mission statement.
This change of emphasis reflects a realization within the scientific community that “understanding and acceptance” of the condition is a is just as worthwhile as finding a “cure.” A board member of the nonprofit explained that a number of parents of children who have autism would like to see the idea that the condition can be associated with a productive, meaningful life emphasized.
The recalibrated mission statement does away with language such as “urgent global health crisis” and instead works to inform and educate people about the disorder. In addition to raising public awareness, the organization is working to raise funds for improving interventions and better understanding causes of autism spectrum disorder. The focus then is presenting well-rounded solutions that truly benefit those with autism and their families.