I’ve had negative feelings towards the organization Autism Speaks for a long time.
The were like a large and mighty enemy, spreading cure culture and promoting Autistic genocide.
They wanted to find a way to prevent Autistic children from being born (according to their mission statement) and that made me VERY uncomfortable.
In a 2006 press release, Autism Speaks stated as its goal “to accelerate and fund biomedical research into the causes,prevention, treatments and cure for autism spectrum disorders; to increase awareness of the disorder; and to improve the quality of life of affected individuals and their families. [. . .]We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a possible cure for autism. We strive to raise public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families and society: and we work to bring hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder.”
Autism Speaks was a giant and I was just one little voice desperately screaming the only truths I knew through a keyboard.
My voice is small, but I was not alone.
We spoke out, we screamed, we made videos. Autistic people all over the world spoke up and together our voice was large.
Maybe our voices grew loud enough that the giant finally heard us – or at least that is the happy story that I’m telling myself.
The truth is I don’t have an insider’s point of view from Autism Speaks, so I can’t possibly know the reason.
At this point does the reason really matter?
The new version, which the nonprofit says has been in the works since at least late last year, takes a decidedly different tack.
“Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions,” reads the update. “Autism Speaks enhances lives today and is accelerating a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow.”
This new language makes Autism Speaks feel more like a friend. It is almost like we want some of the same things. Is it too good to be true?
I have the cookie in my hand, but I am hesitant to take a bite. Is it laced with slow acting poison?
As awareness has progressed, more have come to understand that autism spectrum disorder is not an illness, but a neurological difference that may present challenges for an individual growing up in a world designed for the neurotypical brain. An estimated one in 68 children in the U.S. are on the autism spectrum. It’s important to remember these children grow up to be autistic adults, who deserve support and acceptance.