#RedInstead: Why I’m saying no to Autism Speaks

Okay, so I promise I will give you all a life update soon. I have plenty of ideas and not a lot of time but I’m planning to spend time writing a load of posts in advance. Don’t hold me to that, though. You know what I’m like in terms of posting!

First things first, though: why the makeover?

April is Autism Awarness month. This is around the time that Autism Speaks, the world’s most well-known autism charity, will start blazoning everything with the slogan: ‘Light It Up Blue’. Millions of well-meaning people will donate money to this charity, believing they are contributing to helping autistic people.

This is not the case.

In reality, Autism Speaks bears more resemblance to a hate group than anything else. Their primary objective is to find a cure for autism. Now, if you’ve ever met an autistic person, and said there were ways to alleviate some of the difficulties autism causes- sensory processing issues, communication difficulties and the like- I’m sure they’d love the opportunity to make their lives easier. However, that’s just not how autism works. Autism is a complex mental disability that affects multiple parts of a person’s brain. 

Let’s say you get headaches on a fairly regular basis. Imagine if someone told you they could find a cure for these headaches. You’d jump at the chance! But this cure comes at a cost: rewiring your entire brain. Essentially, rewriting your personality.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many parts of me I’d like to change- we all would- but not at the cost of removing parts of me. Not rewriting the way I see the world- because no matter how similar us neurotypicals (that’s non-autistic folk like me) are to each other, nobody sees the world in quite the same way I do.

The end goal for Autism Speaks is ultimately to find a modern equivalent of lobotomising autistic people. To create a ‘better’ society where people with different brain chemistry are slowly but surely wiped off the face of this planet.

What’s that I hear?

Oh, it’s the Nazis calling. They want their eugenics back.

Beyond this, Autism Speaks is generally a terrible charity. Only 4% of their profits go towards helping families and autistic people- the rest goes into campaigning and researching for a cure.  

 
Beyond this, their campaign videos such as ‘I am Autism’ portray autistic kids as ruining their parents’ lives. Don’t get me wrong, raising a child with a disability is difficult. Really difficult. But so is raising a transgender child, or a gay child, or a girl. Raising any child is difficult, because even if it faces no discrimination in it’s life, even if it does well in school and never gets bullied, even if you do the world’s best job at parenting, that child will still face serious problems and challenges in it’s life. If the thought of aborting a child solely for it’s gender or sexuality makes you feel ill, so should this.

Repeat after me, kids:

Autistic people are not a burden.

But Ellie, you still haven’t answered the question-

Just getting to it now. You know I love a good ramble.

The adult autistic community is stridently against Autism Speaks, for the reasons discussed above. This month, they have started a movement that aims to inform people about living with autism and to try to combat the misinformation Autism Speaks spreads. Instead of #LightItUpBlue, autistics and allies alike are opting for #RedInstead, wearing red to show their support of the autistic community and saying no to Autism Speaks and their message of fear and intolerance.

If you’re interested in learning more about autism or want to help a more honest and supportive charity, check out:

 National Autistic Society

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Autism Women’s Network

If you want to find out more on Autism Speaks and to see their many, many faults be backed up by links, data and hard facts, don’t just take my word for it. Read thecaffeinatedautistic’s post (link opens in a new tab) for the most comprehensive, thorough study of Autism Speaks and their failings.

  
I will be wearing #RedInstead.

I will be standing with the autistic community, against hate and for acceptance.

Will you?

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on Ramblings of a confused teenager and commented:

    “Oh, it’s the Nazis calling. They want their eugenics back” remains one of the best things I have ever written.
    Happy Autism Awareness Month, everyone.

    Like

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