November 14, 2009

Message From ASAN

This was passed on to me through the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. Many have asked me why I DO NOT support Autism Speaks. See below..they stated the reasons many have protested this group. Autism Speaks does not speak for my kid!

We'll be gathering on Tuesday, November 17th, at Seventh Avenue and 57th Street, 154 West 57th Street in New York City from 6 PM to 8 PM to hold up signs and hand out flyers to Autism Speaks sponsors going in to their New York City concert with Bruce Springsteen and Jerry Seinfeld. Come join us! Please RSVP to aneeman@autisticadvocacy.org or go to the facebook event page here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?invites&eid=205191180125

Please distribute to your friends, contacts and listservs!

*****WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?*****

1. Autism Speaks talks about us without us. Not a single Autistic person is on Autism Speaks' Board of Directors or in their leadership. Autism Speaks is one of an increasingly few number of major disability advocacy organizations that refuse to include any individual with the disability they purport to serve on their board of directors or at any point in their leadership and decision-making processes. In large part due to Autism Speaks’ public relations strategy of presenting Autistic people as silent burdens on society rather than human beings with thoughts, feelings and opinions.

2. They use fear and stigma to try and raise money off the backs of our people. Autism Speaks uses damaging and offensive fundraising tactics which rely on fear, stereotypes and devaluing the lives of people on the autism spectrum. Autism Speaks' advertising claims that Autistic people are stolen from our own bodies. Its television Public Service Announcements compare having a child on the autism spectrum to having a child caught in a fatal car accident or struck by lightning. In fact, the idea of autism as a fate worse than death is a frequent theme in their fundraising and awareness efforts, going back to their “Autism Every Day” film in 2005. Indeed, throughout Autism Speaks’ fundraising is a consistent and unfortunate theme of fear, pity and prejudice, presenting Autistic adults and children not as full human beings but as burdens on society that must be eliminated as soon as possible.

3. Very little money donated to Autism Speaks goes toward helping Autistic people and families: According to their 2008 annual report, only 4% of Autism Speaks’ budget goes towards the “Family Service” grants that are the organization’s means of funding services. Given the huge sums of money Autism Speaks raises from local communities as compared to the miniscule sums it gives back, it is not an exaggeration to say that Autism Speaks is a tremendous drain on the ability of communities to fund autism service-provision and education initiatives Furthermore, while the bulk of Autism Speaks’ budget (65%) goes toward genetic and biomedical research, only a small minority of Autism Speaks’ research budget goes towards research oriented around improving services, supports, treatments and educational methodologies, with most funding going towards basic research oriented around causation and genetic research, including the prospect of prenatal testing. Although Autism Speaks has not prioritized services with a practical impact for families and individuals in its budget, its rates of executive pay are the highest in the autism world, with annual salaries as high as $600,000 a year.

2 comments:

Hartley said...

Hi,

I stumbled onto your blog this morning so I thought I would say hi.

My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (we assume that as he gains some verbal skills he may be re-diagnosed as "aspergers" by the time he is a teenager) last February.

The more I learn about Autism Speaks through blogs and articles I am shocked. Really truly shocked.

That said, this is the first time I have seen the "reasons" people are against them given numerically like this, which I thank you for.

I look forward to reading your posts again.

Hartley
hartleysboys.blogspot.com

asansouthwestohio said...

Hi Angela. Thanks for reposting the ASAN announcement. I tried to write to you by e-mail, but the address in your profile does not seem to work. Is there another address where you can be reached?

Meg Evans for ASAN