I’m boycotting Autism Speaks because of their long history of ableism, their lack of focus on actually helping autistic people, and their harmful rhetoric. You should too!
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Why I am boycotting Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s largest autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
I am boycotting Autism Speaks because of their position on vaccinations. They have taken the position that there is a link between vaccines and autism, which has been debunked by the scientific community. This position puts children at risk and does not reflect the latest scientific research.
I urge you to join me in boycotting Autism Speaks.
The reasons behind my boycott
I am boycotting Autism Speaks for many reasons. I do not like the way that they portray autism and autistic people. I think that they are making money off of the autism community without giving anything back.
I also have a problem with the way that Autism Speaks uses its power and influence. They are often able to get their way with law makers and policy makers. This means that they can make decisions that affect autistic people without consulting with the autistic community.
Finally, I believe that Autism Speaks does more harm than good. They regularly promote various therapies and treatments that have not been proven to be effective, and in some cases, have been shown to be harmful.
Why you should also boycott Autism Speaks
On November 5th, 2016, the organization Autism Speaks held their annual “Walk for Autism Speaks” in New York City. This is an event where people “raise awareness” and money for the organization, which claims to be working towards a world where “all People With Autism can reach their full potential”.
However, Autism Speaks is not actually helping autistic people. In fact, they are doing quite the opposite.
Autism Speaks was founded in 2005 by Bob and Suzanne Wright, grandparents of a child with autism. Since its inception, Autism Speaks has been an incredibly harmful force in the autistic community. They have actively lobbied against policies that would improve the lives of autistic people, such as Medicaid and supported segregated schools. In addition, they have used fear-mongering tactics to raise money and awareness, which has led to an increase in discrimination and violence against autistic people.
The organization also has a long history of ableism and eugenics. In 2009, their then-president spoke about “eliminating” autism from future generations through prenatal testing and abortion. Bob Wright has also compared autism to cancer, AIDS, and diabetes; all of which are deadly diseases. This rhetoric is not only harmful but also dangerous; it leads people to believe that autistic people are something to be eradicated instead of accepted.
Autism Speaks does not represent the autistic community; in fact, many autistics have spoken out against the organization. The #BoycottAutismSpeaks movement was started by autistic self-advocates who are fighting against the ableism and discrimination that Autism Speaks perpetuates.
I am boycotting Autism Speaks because they are a harmful force in the world; one that does not deserve my support or my money. I urge you to do the same.
The problems with Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. Their mission is to “empower individuals with autism and their families” However, many people in the autistic community do not support Autism Speaks because they feel that the organization does not actually support autistic people.
Autism Speaks has been accused of ableism, which is discrimination against disabled people. They have also been accused of eugenics, which is the belief that some groups of people are inherently superior to others and that it is therefore desirable to increase the frequency of “good” genes by encouraging reproduction among members of those groups.
Some autistic people feel that Autism Speaks does not represent them because the organization is run by non-autistic people. Autism Speaks has also been criticized for their lack of diversity, as most of their board members are white men.
There are many other autism organizations that support autistic people and their families, such as the Autism Society and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. I believe that we should support these organizations instead of Autism Speaks.
The negative impact of Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. It is dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
However, Autism Speaks has been increasingly criticized for its focus on cure-based research, its allegedly negative depiction of autism and autistic people, and its lack of autistic leadership. In addition, many autistic people and allies have boycotted Autism Speaks over the years for various reasons.
Here are some of the main reasons why I am boycotting Autism Speaks and why you should too:
1. Autism Speaks focuses on cure-based research instead of quality of life research.
2. Autism Speaks relies heavily on donations from the pharmaceutical industry.
3. Autism Speaks’ negative portrayal of autism does more harm than good.
4. Autism Speaks lacks autistic leadership.
5. The way Autism Speaks talks about autistics is ableist andpathologizing.
6. Autism Speaks is not transparent with how it spends its money.
7. Autism Speaks does not listen to autistic people or allies.
The better alternatives to Autism Speaks
There are many wonderful organizations that support individuals and families affected by autism. Here are just a few:
Autism Self Advocacy Network: The ASAN is an organization run by and for autistic people. They work to support the autistic community and empower autistic people to speak for themselves.
The Autism Society: The Autism Society is a national organization that provides resources and support to autistic people and their families. They also advocate for the rights of autistic people.
Tales of a Misunderstood Housewife: This blog is written by an autistic woman and focuses on debunking myths about autism and promoting understanding and acceptance of autistic people.
How to make a difference by boycotting Autism Speaks
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization. They are dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.
Unfortunately, Autism Speaks does not reflect the values of the autism community. Here are three reasons why you should join the boycott of Autism Speaks.
1. Autism Speaks does not adequately represent people with autism
2. Autism Speaks actively works against the best interests of people with autism.
3. Autism Speaks Misleads The Public About Autism
What will happen if we all boycott Autism Speaks
If we all boycott Autism Speaks, what will happen?
autistic people will have more of a voice in the autism community
funding for research will be redirected to more autism-friendly organizations
public perception of autism will begin to shift from a “tragedy” to a natural part of human diversity
These are just a few of the potential positive outcomes that could come from a widespread boycott of Autism Speaks. Let’s make it happen!
The power of a boycott
It’s been a little over a month since I announced my boycott of Autism Speaks, and in that time, I’ve received a lot of questions about why I’m doing it and whether or not it’s effective. I wanted to take a moment to address some of those questions and explain the power of a boycott.
Autism Speaks is the largest autism advocacy organization in the United States. They purport to be an organization that is dedicated to supporting individuals with autism and their families, but in reality, they do very little to actually help autistic people. Instead, they spend the majority of their time and money raising awareness about autism, which they portray as a terrible disease that needs to be eradicated.
They produce fear-mongering commercials and hold events like Light It Up Blue, which encourages people to change the color of their homes and businesses to blue in order to show support for individuals with autism. But what they don’t tell you is that autism isn’t a disease that needs to be cured. Autistic people are not sick and we don’t need your pity or your support. We just want to be treated like everyone else.
The problem with organizations like Autism Speaks is that they actively harm autistic people by perpetuating harmful stereotypes about us. They equate autism with suffering and death, which leads the general public to see us as less than human. This leads to discrimination and violence against autistic people, which is something we already have to deal with on a daily basis.
So why am I boycotting Autism Speaks? Because I want to send a message that their hurtful rhetoric is not welcome in our community anymore. We are done with organizations like Autism Speaks who claim to speak for us but don’t actually listen to or care about what we have to say.
If you want to support autistic people, there are plenty of other organizations out there who are doing good work on our behalf. Organizations like the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Autism Women’s Network, and Autistica UK are run by and for autistic people and they actually do valuable work to support our community. So instead of giving your money to Autism Speaks, I encourage you to donate to one of these organizations instead.
Why we need to stand up to Autism Speaks
For years, Autism Speaks has been the largest and most powerful autism advocacy organization in the United States. But despite its size and influence, Autism Speaks has consistently failed to actually help autistic people or make the world a better place for us. In fact, they have done quite a lot of harm.
Here are just a few examples:
They have spent millions of dollars on research into “cures” for autism, instead of funds that could be used to actually improve our lives.
They have supported harmful practices like Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), which uses abusive techniques like electric shock therapy on autistic children.
They have lobbied for laws that would force us to be vaccinated, even though many of us are immunocompromised and vaccines can be dangerous for us.
They have donated money to groups that promote conversion therapy, a pseudoscientific practice that attempts to change an autistic person’s brain to make them “normal”.
Autism Speaks has also been criticized for its lack of diversity; its leadership is overwhelmingly white and male, and it has failed to include autistic people in its decision-making processes.
All of this is why I am boycotting Autism Speaks and why I urge you to do the same. There are other autism organizations out there that are actually run by and for autistic people, and that are doing important work to improve our lives. I hope you will join me in supporting them instead of Autism Speaks.
Janice is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Special Education. She also holds a Master of Science in Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) from Queen’s University, Belfast. She has worked with and case managed children and youth with autism and other intellectual and/or developmental disabilities in home and residential setting since 2013.