Autism Speaks Changes Mission – No Longer Seeking Cure

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.”

Michelle Diament – Disability Scoop

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.

Finally, after years of suffering, are we heading out of the “Autism Dark Ages”?
So much harm has already been done. Can they really repair the damage? Only time will tell but I feel as if this is a step in the right direction.
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22 thoughts on “Autism Speaks Changes Mission – No Longer Seeking Cure”

  1. I’m still hesitant myself. It’s a step forward, but from what I’ve read they still seem to be coming from a perspective of finding causes (I assume so that autism can ultimately be eradicated, rather than accepted) and on therapies, (I assume so that those on the spectrum can blend in with NTs). If it is a step forward, they’ve still got to do a hell of a lot of walking before they’re coming from a perspective I’m happy to accept.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hopefully they are not at the “crawling ” ( metaphorically) stage!
      I’m wary but also feel that change can only happen if it is encouraged … opening the window to the fresh air.

      I’m all for an understanding in all aspects of autism informed by autistic people.

      As you say all things/ knowledge can be used for positive or negative outcomes and of course those values are defined by the vested interests of the majority unless they can be educated.

      At present some may not see themselves a future ” target” … how can we enlighten them to the lack of certainty regarding futures?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The “others” I refer to are those who accept or reject without recognising that for everything there are the seen and unseen consequences. I’m not aligning myself but just putting forward that we autistics need to be included in decision making that affect our lives .

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I can understand why they were thinking like that, it’s really hard to understand that autistic people are just different, we tend to want to cure everything and especially as a parent we want our child to be ok, i mean not to have difficulties in society or in anything else. When i first faced my boys autism spectrum diagnostic i was desperate to find a cure, to “help him” i was convinced that he is not well. I read things like autistic children feel like they are locked in an invisible box and they can’t get out, and we have to use different types of therapies and medicine to help them get back to “normal”. All the therapies out there are promoted by people who “miraculously” were cured from autism and they live a “full life”. It was month later and with the help of lots of blogs (especially yours) that i realized what’s happening, and now i can say that i love my boy fully, i love the way he is and he really starts to open up. I don’t think about him like he has something bad anymore. I can see how he is different i try to understand why he does things and it is working, he is happy, started to say words and he is progressing in learning things. Imagine if it took me several month and lot’s of reading to get here, those people from that organization probably are more closed minded and stubborn, and they probably don’t have the personal experience to wake them up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess it is a thirst /commitment to actually ” understand” in that it is your quest to find how you can best get to know and communicate with your children, There are no quick fixes … no need to compare as each of is is an individual….

    Liked by 1 person

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