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Autism Speaks the Silent Treatment


Autism $peaks turned 10 years old this year. In 2005 when Bob and Suzanne Wright started their Autism conglomerate my son was 6 yrs. old with a two year old diagnosis of …very Autistic. It didn’t jolt me or upset me in the ways I had imagined as a young girl growing up daydreaming of children and all of the “what ifs” surrounding the miracle of childbirth. It seemed to upset the people I told about it much more. (?)


At that time it hadn’t occurred to me why. I did not have a computer and was completely unaware of what has come to be known as the on-line ”Autism Community.” I remember that I did start hearing disturbing radio spots by A$. T.V. and billboards. All messaging to me that I should be afraid…very afraid.  People that know me are aware that I do not scare easily. I really wasn’t getting the big Autism picture but, I knew this new company saying horrible things about Autism held nothing valid for my son and myself. Fear tactics are a turn-off to me.  I was already attached to my son and he to me. He had not disappeared, he was not gone and he was certainly no burden. I was raised by people that believed in the POWER of positivity! Especially my Dad. I really wish he was here to advise me on this absurd situation that Autism Speaks has placed on the people traveling the AutismHWY.


I remember upon finding out Wyatt was Autistic people would slump their shoulders and say, “Oh, I am so sorry”…and then proceed to tell me that I should go to the “Autism Walk.” As if it was the Disneyland for people like my child. I did what all people would do upon hearing that and looked into “the Autism walk” whatever the heck that was.


I remember thinking why would we want to walk with Autism Speaks? People on the radio saying that our lives are tragic? Those are not the people that my child and I are in alignment with, because our lives are not tragic.


What was the walk anyway? A place to team up on your friends and family to raise money. Money to walk right on over to Autism Speaks.   Why would other families fund raise in order to provide A$ with enough money to keep pounding the stigmatizing tragedy drum? MORE horrid radio spots, TV ads, billboards and videos.  More pity,  more slumping shoulders and more advice to go to “the walk.” No thank you.


Five years later when I was compelled to connect with the Autistic tribe I stepped into the virtual world. Once I got here…I naturally gravitated toward Autistic people. They made the most sense to me in conversations about Autism. About my son. Honestly, where else could I learn more about my now 16 yr. old son? I had no interest in reading any of the countless Mommy blogs and books on how they “recovered” their child with Autism. Why would I waste my time reading another Mom’s guesses masquerading as facts? I wanted to read and hear what Autistic people said and felt and did.


I made a bee line to what makes sense to me. Autistic friends. They tell me something useful. They taught me about my son and his processing system. They have given me the advice that has helped him find comfort in a world difficult to absorb. 


Autism Speaks continues to ignore the requests of Autistic people to be heard by them. They refuse to comment on the very public complaints and BOYCOTT of their organizations practices. An arrogant company naming themselves Autism Speaks, with the motto of “It’s time to listen” refusing to honor Autistic people and their voices.  Why can’t Autism Speaks figure out in 10 yrs. what I recognized in ten minutes, that Autistic people have the answers we seek to make other Autistic people comfortable.


Why continue to back a company that reinforces this horrible “silent treatment” of Autistic people?  Why support Autism Speaks very deliberate choice to continue ignoring their words imploring for social justice? Why continue walking in circles another ten yrs. shrugging your shoulders feeling pained and burdened?







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