Among people I know who are autistic or live/raise/support someone who is autistic, Autism Speaks is a heated topic.
My personal opinion about the autistic brain is that it is not something to be eliminated or cured. The level of an individual’s function is really at the center of this debate. Would my life be better if I weren’t on the spectrum? Would the lives of those around me? How much of a drain on my family and society am I, really? Am I someone who needs to be fixed? I found this piece by The Caffeinated Autistic to be an interesting read because it is a case of an autistic individual exhibiting self-advocacy.
My brain doesn’t work like the neurotypical brain, and that’s okay. I’ve gotten by this far. I think that charitable organizations for any condition should directly improve the quality of life of the people who live with that condition. Individuals who are on the low-functioning end of the spectrum need advocates for their experience and research into ways to help provide alternative means of communication. All autistic people deserve a baseline quality of life and compassionate support no matter their level of function. Autism is not a disease. It’s a matter of neurological wiring.
Have a read:
“Autism Speaks is the most well-known autism charity. They have the most media coverage and are endorsed by many celebrities, but this certainly does not make them a good organization.
Autism Speaks does not have a single autistic member on their board.” – The Caffeinated Autistic