Marc Rosen of Examiner.Com: Why Autistic People Don't Like Autism Speaks
Posted Sep 09 2009 12:00am
This is an excerpt from the Long Island Autism guide for Examiner.com, Marc Rosen. Autism Speaks has created strange bedfellows, have they not?
Autism Speaks is easily one of the biggest and loudest voices talking about autism. However, it is also one of the most despised among autistic adults. There are various reasons, many of which involve where their money goes, the stances they take regarding issues that are important to autistic people, their outright refusal to have autistic adults on their board of directors (autistic people do not even have a token presence in Autism Speaks's leadership), their continual use of pity advertising, their unreproducable facts and figures, and their insistence that autism is universally tragic and that autistic people should not exist (their insistence on "curing" autism, which can only be done if a prenatal test is designed to facilitate the decision of whether or not to abort the fetus). Luckily, there are other organizations that are more favorable to the autistic community, though that's for another article.
Autism Speaks has released its 2008 990 tax return form, which is the primary source of the following information regarding its finances. According to their 990, Autism Speaks has 36 employees who were compensated over $100,000 this year. The highest paid employee listed, their Chief Science Officer, Geri Dawson, was compensated $644,274. That's better than most people make in fairly good positions at Fortune 500 companies! Shockingly, she makes more than the five people listed in the form as "highest compensated employees", who are listed as being compensated less than $150,000 each by Autism Speaks. Where's the rest of that money that they didn't report, and how much is it to make them more highly compensated than someone getting almost $650,000 from a non-profit organization?