By Jason Thayer
10 Reasons I Boycott Autism Speaks
1. As a Christian, I cannot in good conscience endorse an organization that promotes hate.
2. Autism $peaks paints a negative picture of autism, treating it as a disease and an epidemic. They never consider that an autistic person has strengths, and instead focus on their weaknesses.
3. Autism $peaks has for years perpetuated the myth that autism must be cured, and has cited vaccines as the cause, despite evidence to the contrary. Only recently, with the measles outbreak in California, were they forced to reconsider and backtrack, saying that they never supported that claim.
4. While they have never endorsed the infamous MMS cure, they encourage it with their message of autism as a disease.
5. Because they have such a public face, people get the wrong idea about their organization. As a result, they donate money to the wrong people. Money that could go to organizations like Autism Self-Advocacy Network instead goes to Autism $peaks, to fund research that should never be conducted in the first place.
6. Autism $peaks only gives 4% of their income to autistic families who register with them. These families are presented in their propaganda as families in struggle with autism, never as families who support their children. In fact, we rarely see adult autistics in their propaganda.
7. Their use of blue as a “color” for autism is a gross misrepresentation. It only focuses on the boys who are diagnosed with autism. However, I know quite a few adult autistic females, and not once has the propaganda even acknowledged this fact. As far as they’re concerned, only boys are diagnosed with autism.
8. By focusing on autism as a disease, they seek to separate the person from the disorder. You cannot “cure” a person with a disorder. You can only help them cope with it, to see it as a strength. They want parents to believe that there is a “normal” child hidden within their autistic child, that needs help to come out. But you cannot separate autism from an autistic person, any more than you can separate blindness from a blind person. It is part of who they are.
9. I support the use of the “rainbow infinity symbol” of autism acceptance. This symbol represents the infinite diversity of autistic people, the full range of how they cope with society. The rainbow colors represent the hope that one day all autistics will be understood. Autism $peaks uses a puzzle piece, a picture that has for years never painted a positive picture of autism. It represents autism as a puzzle to be solved, and by solving they mean to one day cure autism.
Image Description: A rainbow infinity symbol with the words Autistic Pride above it.
10. By focusing only on children, Autism $peaks does not present the idea that autistic children may one day achieve greatness. I have not only graduated from high school, but I also have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. This is not in spite of my autism, but because of it.