Jill Escher lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a mother of two children with autism. She is a former lawyer, an autism research philanthropist, and through her Escher Fund for Autism she promotes and funds research on the genetic toxicology of autism and related neurodevelopmental pathologies. Jill is also a real estate investor who provides low-income housing for adults with developmental disabilities. She is past president of the Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area and is now the president of National Council on Severe Autism.
Listen to this episode.
We blondes felt as if the stars were aligning as the debut of NCSA coincided with our own podcast’s inception. “What genius!” we thought. Severe autism is truly its own animal. Don’t believe us? Read some of the blog posts Jill features on the NCSA website: eye-opening for even the most seasoned, thick-skinned autism parents. In her words, autism is not just “a benign difference of brain development.” We could not agree more, even if we don’t agree with all of Jill’s views.
If you think the number of those who suffer from the ugly autism is small … think again. And we don’t mean to just add the affected’s family to the stats. You know, the extra handful of individuals pulled from the workforce in order to provide around-the-clock care? Nope, we mean to add YOU. The very fabric of our society is threatened as advocates for the “high functioning” work hard to drown out the voices of those in severe crisis. Enter Jill to provide the grim statistics and explain their ripple effect.
The Disorderly Blondes choose to ignore the threats of the #AA / #Au brand bullies we mention in this episode, for even negative attention is attention. And this is what they seek. Our resolve is clear and strong: we champion those who can and advocate for those who cannot do so for themselves. Because we are actual autism moms. Sorry, not sorry but isn’t there a saying about who knows best?
Please support the NCSA. The all-volunteer organization welcomes your stories, expertise, and/or financial contribution. Consider NCSA’s position statements. Follow NCSA on Facebook / Twitter and read its posts in order to educate yourself and others. Thanks.
Here are the questions we asked Jill:
Brenda: (In response to Jill’s lengthy resume) What do you have to say for yourself, Jill. Is that it? Is that all you do? Do you even have a TV? Do you snore? Tell us something bad.
Brenda: What type of interventions did you try with your kids?
Brenda: Can you please tell our listeners a little bit about the NCSA?
Kristi: We know you are big on research and data. Can you give us a glimpse at the projected incoming numbers on adults aging out and needing services, care, housing, everything!
Kristi: What is the best way to support the NCSA?
Brenda: (Regarding bullying of autism parents) WE know what our journey has been like and what the needs of our kids are. End of story. How do you feel about this continued controversy? Do you see it ever ending?
Kristi: (Regarding “flipping the script” on the media’s mostly romanticized portrayal of autism) HOW, as advocates, do we positively contribute to this all CHANGING?