Autism Speaks: Follow Up Post

Merry Christmas, Channukah Tovah, Seasons Greetings.
This is a followup to my earlier post about Autism Speaks’ misguided call to action.
It turms out that their behaviour was even worse than that. I’d heard of “Autism every day” and the action call. I’d forgotten that Autism Speaks had also put out “I am autism”.
I’m a fan of several blogs and blogging collectives. One is “Scientopia“, and one of the bloggers on Scientopia is Namnezia. His latest post is “Speaking Spookily About Autism“. He saw an advert from Autism Speaks featuring Toni Braxton and her autistic son. The last sentence of the post reads “Why are they casting these what I imagine are well meaning ads with such a tragic, dehumanizing rhetoric?” I’ve also been in a fight over at Left Brain Right Brain in these two posts.
The bottom line is Autism Speaks uses the rhetoric of “Autism is a tragedy”. Such rhetoric dehumanises autistics, even though that is not the intention. In addition, instead of listening to the complaints of autistics and their families, Autism Speaks tried to frame the debate as “high-functioning vs. low functioning”, conveniently forgetting that even high-functioning autistics need support.
Not only does Autism Speaks not speak for autistics, it doesn’t even bother to listen to us.

About autismjungle

I am a Software Test Analyst. Shortly before I turned 21 I was officially diagnosed, although I had long suspected I was autistic. Welcome to my blog
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4 Responses to Autism Speaks: Follow Up Post

  1. namnezia says:

    The more comments I get from people about my post, the more I get the sense that my intuition about that Autism Speaks ad being offensive was correct.

  2. Sullivan (Matt Carey) says:

    It’s not surprising that one might not recall “I am autism”. “I am autism” disappeared faster and more completely than “Autism every day”. One can still find the latter on YouTube and elsewhere. The video for “I am autism” is gone but the poem is online.

    I was told by people who should know that Autism Speaks was warned about “I am autism” before they released it to the public. That after a private showing people informed them that it was going to cause a major response. AS chose to ignore those warnings and took the video public.

    So it isn’t as though AS just blindly makes these blunders.

    There are those within AS (including the founders and their daughter) who see it as appropriate and somehow helpful to discuss autism as a tragedy. I don’t see AS getting better, just better at hiding this viewpoint.

    Ionically, AS and Mrs. Wright chose to post a picture of her, Bob Wright and their autistic grandson all smiling while discussing how families aren’t living, they are breaking apart and all the rest.

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