Autism Speaks Supresses the Free Speech of People with Autism
Posted Aug 23 2008 10:30pm
Rather than listening to the legitimate criticism that Autism Speaks is being offered from the neurodiversity community (like the fact that people with autism are not allowed to speak at their events, even though their name is "Autism Speaks"), AS instead threatens to sue them .
Even for legal parodies, even for t-shirts that say, "Autism Speaks can go away. I have autism. I can speak for myself."
Pretty poor behavior for the org that refers to itself as Autism's "Big Tent".
(But really, if they don't listen to fellow parents like us who are looking for treatments and supposedly have the same goals as them, are we surprised that they don't listen to adults with autism who oppose "cures"?)
And its weird because, really, the point of all the of the stuff that we are doing to make our kids better is so that they CAN one day advocate for themselves, right? I mean, I disagree whole heartedly with the idea that finding a "cure" for autism is wrong, and somehow devalues people with autism, but I earnestly pray that my son will be an adult who is healthy and functional enough to process complex abstract ideas like human value and have t-shirts printed up to espouse his thoughts on the matter should he get a hankerin' to do so.
I know this may sound odd, but the fact that there are people with autism out there that can use cogent arguments to tell me that they think that I am jerk is encouraging to me. It means that it is possible that my son who wouldn't see danger coming if it was wearing a t-shirt that said, "I am danger" on it, might one day not only be able to comprehend and defend himself against concrete threats to his safety, but abstract, theoretical threats to his self image.
It gives me the hope that someday, Chandler could be a sixteen year old that borrows the car and stays out past curfew, yelling "I hate you, you have ruined my life" when he gets grounded and can't go to the foot ball game on Friday, just like most every other teen age boy has done at one time or another. ... and the idea of loosing an arguement with him, and having to apologize to him, is just to beautiful a thought for me to hope for.
If AS first priority is squelching criticism of their organization by people with autism, there is a much cheaper way to do that. Stop looking for a cure and don't teach people with autism how to talk. That way, you save money on both ends, you don't have to spend it on research and speech therapy now, NOR do you have to spend it on lawyers to get them to shut up later!
When reaching your goals for autism means stepping on people with autism, it is time for you to get out of the autism game and just go back to being a corporation that just steps on the regular ol'e consumer.
UPDATE: So it appears that in the case of the t-shirt, they did not threaten to sue over that specifically, but since they had contacted the tshirt company before about shirts with their name on it, said company decided to nix the one in qestion pre-emptively .
He jumped to the conclusion that AS did it.
But they still bullied a 14 year old over a parody site.