I used to really enjoy April, as the gateway to spring. Now, April is just miserable, and horrible for my blood pressure... I can’t wait for it to be over.
Have you ever logged on to Facebook, just to see a post from a “friend” that advocates for an organization that is raising money to employ the use of eugenics against YOU.. And a lot of your friends?
How about numerous friends... all of whom are actually well meaning?
I have, and so have many other Auties and Aspies. Personally, I’ve taken to just deleting the “friends” who do so, in an effort to keep that crap off my feed. NO ONE should be subjected to the hurt of seeing a “friend” advocate for the extermination of people like them.
The thing is, the root problem here is ignorance, on so many levels. When it comes to a giant “charity”, I don’t think that everyone feels the need to actually educate themselves on the actual details of the organization. If you see the name everywhere, it must be legit, right?
Well, it depends on your point of view. If you’re someone on the spectrum, odds are pretty good that you have nothing good to say about Autism Speaks - and for good reason.
You see, many of us on the Autism Spectrum are intimately familiar with Autism Speaks, what they stand for, and how difficult they’ve made our lives as a result of their supposed “help”. A few key points, as I fear I could rant about them endlessly:
1. Autism Speaks advocates for a “cure”. That right there is my first red flag. I have yet to meet a single autie or aspie who wants a cure. We don’t need a cure. This isn’t a disease, the only thing “wrong” with us is that we are different from the majority.
The fact that they use “cure” language extensively means that they don’t actually care about the emotional well being of us, they just want to see us disappear. (This is a summary of several years of watching their antics, btw). It's one thing to provide support for those who need and want it, and/or to look to manage certain symptoms / manifestations... it's something COMPLETELY different to declare us broken/diseased and declare that all of us - and yes, those deemed "high functioning" also count - need to be "cured" of something that has a big part in forming who we are, our personalities, our outlooks, etc.
2. Autism Speaks uses fear and misrepresentation of Autism to line their pockets. This is exploitative at BEST, and is extremely damaging. They put out commercials with ominous sounding music and dark imagery claiming that autism will wreck your family and destroy your marriage, among other things.
This line of propaganda - along with the cure language - DOES have an impact on the lives of people on the spectrum, and it’s nothing positive. This contributes to the demonization of us, to bullying in school, and more. It contributes to the culture of fear against us, leading to such WONDERFUL parenting moves as employing the use of BLEACH ENEMAS in a desperate attempt to “cure” us. (Not just bleach enemas, but also the forced ingestion of bleach!)
Oh, and you know how there is now speculation of the suspect having Aspergers whenever there is a mass shooting? Another fun result of Autism Speaks’ fear mongering.
They claim to want “awareness”, yet all they spread is ignorance.
3. Though their name is “Autism Speaks”, they have no autistic people involved with running the organization, and have actually used their lawyers to intimidate and silence Autistics that speak up against them. They don’t represent us... and I encourage you all to Google “Autism Speaks Doesn’t Speak for Me”.
Oh, and if you want a "fun" example of how out of touch they are... they host a "Walk for Autism Awareness" at the mall of America, encouraging parents to bring their Autistic children. MOA is pretty much hell on earth for many of us on the spectrum... so yeah, torture your poor Autistic kids to "raise awareness". Awesome.
4. The only "cure" for autism is a preemptive abortion, and they know it. Yes, Autism Speaks looks to employ eugenics against us. That money being raised for “Research”? A lot of it is going towards looking for a way to test for an autism marker in utero. They want to give parents a way out, to prevent people like me from being born. This is disturbing on so many levels, to me. My own mother would likely have gotten an abortion, had she known ahead of time.
I can’t tell you how disturbing and heart wrenching it is to see posts about fundraising for Autism Speaks, coming from “friends”. While not intentional, such posts DO come wrapped up in a theme of “People like you don’t deserve to exist”, “There is something wrong with people like you”, and “I AM ACTIVELY FUNDRAISING to prevent people like you from existing”.
There is the argument that Autism Speaks actually provides some decent resources for parents. Well, that’s great. Hitler’s actions also produced some advancements in science.... but I don’t see that as much reason to justify or support HIS actions (Which have a LOT of parallels to Autism Speaks, when you think about it!).
The thing is, there ARE legit organizations out there that advocate for actual acceptance and support of people living on the spectrum. Organizations that don’t make April - or life! - hell for us. They may not have the monopoly that Autism Speaks does, but they have ethics!
I can’t tell you how happy I was to see that Think Geek’s April autism promotion is in support of an organization that is run by Autistics, for Autistics, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. That they are promoting Autism ACCEPTANCE month, rather than “awareness” month. Really, what we need is acceptance, not Autism Speaks’ ignorant brand of making people “Aware” of us.
So, this month... please research before you support. Sometimes, support is more harmful than standing back and doing nothing.
ThinkGeek encourages you to be fashionably accepting this month!
If I've unfriended you on Facebook or unfollowed you on Twitter over your recent posts in support of Autism Speaks, and you've had a change of heart after reading this, please let me know. While I can't be friends with anyone actively supporting the extermination of people like me, I do understand that mistakes happen!
Editing to add:
To the commenter from this morning: You're right, I won't be approving your comment, as I really have no obligation to allow such abuse / hate speech to be posted to my blog. I did, however, want to address a couple of your points, as I figure that kind of ignorance should be corrected.
1. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I was first diagnosed around 15 years ago, and it's been confirmed several times. No "cop out" here! You're welcome to find me "socially inept, insensitive, annoying, and childish", but you'll have to pardon me if I find the opinion of several doctors to be just SLIGHTLY more legit than that of an internet troll.
2. The fact that autism "can be paired" with other neurological and mental issues means absolutely nothing. So can - and frequently DOES - neurotypicality!
3. Regarding "If you're able to express yourself ... you're likely not autistic." - What a ridiculous statement! For one, I hope you're aware of what "spectrum" means. Being high functioning does not necessarily place one OFF of the spectrum. Secondly, there are plenty of even completely non-verbal autistics that are beautifully spoken in written form. Are they similarly "not autistic enough", in your mind? The idea that we - low OR high functioning! - are somehow so broken as to not be able to form a coherent blog entry is beyond ignorant. That ignorance is EXACTLY why I speak up.
In closing, I'd like to link to a few other blog entries on the subject. Good reads - but only a few of MANY!
Offending Autism Speaks
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Interested in autistic - and human! - rights? Be sure to check out my line of Autistic Pride T-Shirts - and other items.
Links to My Previous Posts on Autism
I Was Like Your Autistic Kid
The Autism Diet - and Why It's Harmful
How to Make a Comfortable Pleated and Wired Face Mask
One Autistic’s Guide to Thriving During Social Isolation
Is ABA Abusive?
"VAXXED" is Dangerous: A History Lesson
On "Passing", and Allistic Gaslighting
Symbols Matter, Words Matter
Explaining Autistic Interoception
My Thoughts on "Autism Awareness"
Aspergers: You Can't Cure "Awesome"
Interacting with Autistic Children: A Guide for Charity Appearances