Racy Billboards Draw Attention To Autism
Prominently placed London billboards featuring a scantily clad woman who wants to talk about autism are grabbing the attention of passersby and British leaders alike.
The billboards show autism activist Polly Tommey wearing a push-up bra and the message, “Hello Boys. Autism is worth over 6 million votes. It’s time to talk…”
The targets of the ads, Tommey says, are Britain’s three main party leaders. And the shock value of the billboards seems to have gotten their attention. Since the signs went up last week Tommey has been invited to meet with an adviser to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Staff from conservative leader David Cameron’s office say a reply is on the way. And liberal leader Nick Clegg said in a letter that he’s committed to providing more respite care for family members of those with autism and better training for teachers who work with those who have the developmental disorder.
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Tommey, who heads an advocacy group, is known for taking drastic measures to get her message across. Last year she landed a meeting with Sarah Brown, the prime minister’s wife, after she put her home phone number on billboards alongside a message for Gordon Brown that read, “I can save you £508m (around $775 million) a year (by providing better services for those with autism). Please call me when it’s convenient.”
Though some are skeptical about Tommey’s current effort, she says the striking billboards are necessary to keep people from ignoring the issue. Specifically, Tommey wants the British government to boost training among its ranks about autism, build regional care centers for those with the disorder and up research dollars.
While British autism advocates across the board agree that attention to the disorder is needed, Tommey herself is considered controversial among many. She is a supporter of Dr. Andrew Wakefield who was recently admonished by Britain’s top medical board for conduct related to his widely discredited research linking autism and vaccines. Many also question Tommey’s attention to nutritional remedies for autism and disagree with her support for homes for adults with autism rather than more inclusive living environments, reports the (London) Guardian. To read more click here.