It is time I go after the elephant in the room.
Everyone one has heard of this organization. They run advertising on TV radio and magazines. Heck I even saw their big display of blue light bulbs in Home Depot.
So if they are such a great big organization doesn’t that make them great? In a word; NO.
Most people who give to Autism Speaks have no idea how offensive and demeaning this organization is to Autistic people.
I do not know a single person on the Autism Spectrum who supports Autism Speaks. I don’t even know a single person on the spectrum who doesn’t hate Autism Speaks. Why? Several reasons:
Autism Speaks does not advocate for Autistic people. Rather they demonize us. They paint us as sick outsiders who need to be cured. They label us as not normal. They openly promote aborting babies who MAY have Autism.
We aren’t sick. We aren’t broken. All we ever want is a little understanding. Yes we are different, not broken. Autism is a part of who we are, how we think, how we live. To ‘cure’ us would be like cutting off your leg because the doesn’t like the smell of your feet.
Look up their video ‘Autism every day’. In this Public Service Announcement they show a woman, speaking in front of her Autistic daughter about how she contemplates Murder Suicide because her child had Autism. She said the ONLY reason she wouldn’t do this was be use of her NON Autistic child. Who was the woman in the ad? The vice president of Autism Speaks.
Think on that for a moment…
Sadly not long after this PSA aired, a woman did just that.
Autism Speaks doesn’t advocate for Autistic people. They advocate for people inconvenienced by Autistic people.
Autism Speaks does not use its money to help Autistic people or their families. They instead spend their money on researching for a cure. (again I say, we aren’t sick).
By spending money on research, they are unaccountable for results. That is the nature of research after all. Yet they continue to host Hollywood fund-raisers and court corporate partners to bring in massive money. Not directing that money to the people they claim to advocate for.
As I said I have High Functioning Autism and as such I have a strong sense of fairness. So let’s be fair here. In 2010 Autism Speaks DID donate $50 Thousand dollars to family and community grants. They also paid their top executives more than twice that amount and they donated $16 MILLION DOLLARS to research for a cure.
Autism Speaks does not and will not allow anyone on the Autism Spectrum in any controlling position in their organization. Sure they will hire parents of Autistic kids. But they won’t hire anyone even with high functioning Autism such as myself. There is a big difference in having Autism and dealing with Autism. And Autism Speaks only hires those who put up with Autism to run their organization. Those who want a cure, not for their children but to make THEIR life better.
Yes after years of pressure they did allow one Autistic person on the 29 member advisory board. Again I like to be fair.
Autism Speaks has money and Power. The couple who founded Autism Speaks are wealthy and they started with a $25 Million dollar do action from a friend. And as such they dominate ‘Autism awareness industry’. Ask anyone to name 2 organizations that you can donate money to for Autism. They won’t be able to. They can only name Autism Speaks. Why? Because Autism Speaks spends massive amounts of money in order to gain notoriety and market share. Yes they are a money making business just like Pepsi Cola. Difference is Pepsi is honest about why they advertise; to make money.
So now all those well meaning people who want to help Autistic families wind up giving money to the very organization out to destroy Autistic people.
All of this happens while true charities who would help Autistic people are starving for money.
Autism is not a disease, any attempts to ‘cure’ someone of an Autism spectrum condition, or any attempts to force ‘behavior modifications’ are wrong and immoral.
The vast majority of people on the Autism Spectrum are able to live productive lives. Yes some may need a little help. Please do not think you are helping any of us by giving money to a for profit organization like Autism Speaks.
Autism Speaks doesn’t speak for Autistic people.