I found out Autism Speaks has a short movie out called Sounding the Alarm: Battling the Autism Epidemic, which is available on Netflix, iTunes, and GooglePlay. You can consider this a sequel to my previous post about them, The Truth Behind Autism Speaks”. They are not worth your money, and frankly, I am sick of them owning the narrative about autistics.
These people do NOT wish to help autistics. They want to cure them. In fact, the word “cure” is said twelve times in this movie. To them, autism is a disease, hence the subtitle of the movie, “Battling the Autism Epidemic”. This is not the first time that their propaganda has actually shown you their true motives.
Polio is a disease. Smallpox is a disease. Influenza is a disease. Autism is not a disease. It is a disability. The movie even admits that children don’t die from autism, so really what’s the problem here? Disabilities are challenges to be overcome, not eradicated.
One of the families in the movie, says she just wants her boy to say “I love you.” The boy actually does so, sort of, (it’s kind of slurred), and even hugs her. I wanted to say to her, “there’s a thing called non-verbal communication. Your child just said I love you both in word and in action.” Isn’t that enough?
The movie shows sob story after sob story of families “ruined” by autism. Families unable to pay for the therapy their child receives or having to move to other states for the care they need. I’m not against therapy for autistic children, as long as it’s necessary and does no harm to the child. There was not a single positive story in the movie. This is not help, this is fear-mongering! There are lots of successful stories of autism, some of them even celebrities! Dan Akroyd, Drew Barrymore, and Satoshi Tajiri (creator of the Pokemon video games) are all successful people who just happen to be on the autistic spectrum. Do any of these people sound like tragedies? I asked three parents of autistic children to tell me positive things about their children. One, who wished to remain anonymous, told me that “[his] fascination with letters and numbers have led him to have a very advanced skill in pre-reading skills at age three. He is already reading simple words and phrases.” Two of the other parents were autistic themselves. Amanda Sebra, who I have previously interviewed as part of my “One Faith, Many Paths” project, says her child’s desire to learn has made her more inquisitive about the world as a result. Her child is four years old, and already asking questions that normal children his age shouldn’t even know about, like quarks! Finally, here’s a quote from a woman I talked to in a FaceBook group for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome:
Forget the disease and the blatant eugenics for a minute. They say we are a burden…yes my son is slower at things at the age of six. I still have to shower him and tie his shows, but really it’s not such a horrible thing. Autism Speaks says that we will wreck marriages. My parents divorced because my dad cheated, not because I am ASD. I divorced my son’s father because he was an asshole, not because of my son’s ASD. It’s little things like this that piss people off…but they don’t care. They don’t really want to hear from us and really don’t make a difference between those of us who are unable to take care of our most basic needs and those of us classified as high-functioning. They just want all of us to be “cured”. I don’t want a cure–I want acceptance!”–Clarissa Mouley
I’m posting a link to the infamous “Autism Every Day” YouTube video that Autism Speaks produced and is still available. This is another video that shows us what they are truly about.
Fast-forward the video to the 6-minute mark. There you will see a mother say she wants to kill her autistic daughter and herself, but says she can’t because she will abandon her other, “normal” daughter. Notice that she is saying this while her autistic child is standing right there having a meltdown. Yes, it’s possible that the child can’t even understand her, but that’s beside the point. SHE IS SAYING THIS RIGHT IN FRONT OF HER OWN CHILD! “Sounding the Alarm” has a similar scene, this time with an adult child who also has Down Syndrome.
It’s not until towards the end of the movie that we finally meet someone on the high-functioning end of the spectrum. But even this man, who has his own job, is not presented as a happy story. His parents worry what will happen when they die and we never see any happy moment for him.
I am sick of this. We must fight back, and I know the best way: Autism Speaks’ sponsors. Not long ago, Panera Bread was one of the many companies that supported this so-called charity. Now they are off the list. Boycotts do work, but you must tell them why you are boycotting. Below I have posted a list of companies that donate money to Autism Speaks. If you truly wish to help us, do not do business with them:
American Taekwondo Association
Casey’s General Stores
Dover International Speedway
Joe’s Crab Shack
Lindt and Springe
Modell’s Sporting Goods
Pump it Up
Autism Speaks does not speak for autistics. They refuse to listen to us. Get the word out.