I Do Not Support Autism Speaks

April is Autism Awareness Month. Before you go out of your way to purchase a gold bunny or give a buck at checkout or donate directly to Autism Speaks, please do your research. Below is some information I think everyone should be aware of before donning a blue puzzle piece.

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  1. These are the types of films & "awareness" that Autism Speaks promotes. In 2009, they created a short film entitled "I Am Autism."
  2. Horrible commercial I Am Autism
  3. Their type of "awareness" is terrifying. Do you really want your money to go toward producing more of this?
  4. This is a clip from the 2006 Autism Speaks documentary, "Autism Everyday" which was shown at Sundance. This film was key in the organization's kick-off and initial fundraising campaign.
  5. Mother talks about killing her autistic daughter and herself
  6. So much for helping to remove the stigma from autism. That clip is particularly chilling, as so many autistic children have been murdered, most at the hands of their caretakers. I will not list them or link to the stories here, because the stories are violent, horrific, and triggering. There are numerous cases out there. The reports and pieces that often follow these murders lend sympathy the the murderers--claiming they were forced into that place, essentially autism and the children themselves were responsible for their own murders. The scare-tactics of Autism Speaks and other similar groups lend to the mindset that autism and being around autistic individuals can be an excuse for murder. When you are routinely showing the negative, it creates a deep stigma, where autistic people are seen only as they've been depicted by the media. Based on Autism Speaks' propaganda, autism makes you less than human, it is something worse than AIDS or cancer, something that destroys marriages and families, something that causes substantial debt, something that makes mothers contemplate the worst of things. And many have sat quietly while Autism Speaks rakes in the money to promote this.
  7. Sidenote: In 2009, Allison Singer addressed this in a blog post. I'm glad she explained herself further. While I can understand desperation from a lack of resources, I cannot understand contemplating killing my child. If you are having such thoughts, seek help. If I'd had such ideas and then got the psychological treatment I needed, I would never have said those words so bluntly, and in front of my child, in a video designed to receive international attention and to raise money for an organization. Here is Singer's explanation:
  8. Other organizations make it a point to be inclusive. 
  9. Who knows better about what a certain group might need than individuals who actually are in said group? I'd say it's damn near impossible to advocate for people when you refuse to listen to them.
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