Autism Speaks: Torturing autistics for profit
By Jessika Endsley
Imagine if hate groups, such as the KKK, began fund-raisers to help prevent the birth of blacks, Catholics, Jews, and homosexuals, by testing for the conditions prenatally and offering abortion. Imagine they wanted to introduce treatment options to make blacks, Catholics, Jews, and homosexuals easier to deal with on a daily basis - one of these treatments even being electroshock therapy. Their organization would collect money from families who had been destroyed by a member of one of these minorities. The families, victims of these every-present conditions, would share stories of wishing to kill their own black, Catholic, Jewish, or homosexual children, and they would do so publically. The KKK would quickly become filthy rich. The general public would receive these messages and sympathize with the pitiful families, sending money to help research further treatment of these awful afflictions. Sending the KKK a check would be one of the common ways to collect brownie-points with Karma; it would be a way to make looking in the mirror a little easier every day.
If you think that this is absurd, and that most of the public would never send money to an organization that is based on hate and the annihilation of the group, you are ignorant. This behavior is not confined the Nazi Germany of the past, and it is not confined to race, religion or sexual orientation. Each April, millions of families (some who have never even interacted with an Autistic person) wear blue and "spread awareness" about Autism and Asperger's Syndrome, buying products from and donating to an organization called Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks is the first site to come up when you begin Google research on Autism. It is an organization that supports eugenics, which is made very clear on their website where it says "Autism Speaks has grown into the world's leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism." This basically means, "We collect money so we can learn what causes Autism, abort Autistic babies, and fix Autistic people to make them easy for Neurotypicals to deal with."
People on the Autistic Spectrum and people who claim to "love" someone on the Autistic Spectrum actually sending funds to Autism Speaks makes absolutely no sense. This is akin to homosexuals and GLBT supporters financing "straight camps." It is a way for an Autist to say "I hate myself" and for their family to reinforce the thought by saying "I wish you had never been born, and with my financial assistance, maybe no one else will have to give birth to someone like you." There isn't really a way to sugar-coat and warp this into a healthy form of support for those with Autism. Although this does happen too often, unfortunately, Autism Speaks likes to prey on the willful ignorance of the masses. No one does their research before they get on the bandwagon. People with Autism and Asperger's can be lonely, and the parents of children on the Spectrum want to connect to others through their similar experiences. The name Autism Speaks sounds like a support group, does it not? And it's never hard to take advantage of desperate do-gooders. Everyone should be feeling insulted - not just those of us on the Spectrum. But it isn't as though Autism Speaks hides what they want to do. A quick look at their site tells the world what Autism Speaks intends to do. If you cannot figure out that "prevention" is another word for "abortion" and you are spending your hard-learned, pro-life, Republican charity money to fund abortion, you have a serious issue. Some members of the board have been horrified with various postings and left their own organization; there should not even be a debate about whether or not this organization is corrupt. Look at where they spend their money.
It has been reported that about 44% of the funds that Autism Speaks receives is put towards research in to the cause and prevention of Autism. The grand idea is that it is extremely urgent to create a prenatal test to determine whether or not a fetus has Autism, much like prenatal testing for Downs Syndrome. This is done to increase the likelihood of aborting Autistic babies. Autism speaks wants to make the entire world resemble their board by eliminating Autistic people. What would be more convenient for those families who are "struck by the tragedy of Autism" than disallowing the existence of an Autistic child in the first place? Many people who blindly show support for Autism Speaks are unaware that in saying "yes" to Autism Speaks, they are funding an abortion-heavy future. For adults on the Autistic Spectrum, the idea that most of the money being raised for our condition is to destroy us before we make it into the world is relatively disturbing. I am not inheritably against abortion, but that doesn't mean that systematically annihilating people with Autism is going to go well. Systematically annihilating a group of people based on what another group deems "undesirable" is the very definition of the word "genocide."
Autism Speaks has routinely called the amount of Autistic children in the United States a "crisis" and go on to pity the parents because they "wake to the sound of their son or daughter bounding through the house. That is - if they aren't already awake." How awful it must be to have a healthy, energetic child. We wouldn't want that ruining your good night's rest - after all, Neurotypical children are a breeze, right? In the same paragraph, they say that parents of Autistic children have to sleep "with one ear toward their child's room - always waiting." Apparently, only Autistic children get into things, hurt themselves, raid the refrigerator, and strip their clothes off. The paragraph goes on to say that families touched by Autism "aren't living." Not only do they promote destroying Autistic children before they're born, they can't even recognize the difference between difficult Autistic behavior and regular childhood behavior. They call those of us on the Spectrum "missing" and "gravely ill." What the people of Autism Speaks are crying about is that they are parents and they are lazy; Autism is their scapegoat. If they want to prevent children from bounding around and making a mess, stressing out their parents, why do they not try and abort all of them?
Being on the Autistic Spectrum is difficult and it does present challenges because we are forced, on a daily basis, to adapt to a loud, bright, illogical world that is not the least bit user-friendly. Dealing with social interaction is difficult. The parents of Autistic children are tired, and they do have to adapt to a child who may communicate with the world in very different ways. But those children grow up. Many of us take care of ourselves; we change our own clothes, cross the street all by ourselves, and even become financially independent or renowned for our talents and skills. Eugenics is the practice of improving the genetic quality of the human population, but the human population is much better off for Autistic people. If aborting Autistic fetuses had been widespread in the past, many things we use on a daily basis and ideas in science we have come to accept would not exist. If an organization made its primary goal to prevent a future of Einstein's, Mozart's, and Newton's from existing, would you still donate? If you support Autism Speaks, that's what you're doing.
Autism Speaks unqualified on Autism
Autism Speaks is not run by people on the Autistic Spectrum. Their organization has the distinction of being the only large non-profit medical organization that is constantly met with public resistance from the group of people they claim to represent. The sole Autistic member resigned due to the inflammatory remarks about Autism by the superiors in the organization. John Elder Robison said in his public resignation, "Autism Speaks says it's the advocacy group for people with autism and their families. It's not, despite having had many chances to become that voice. Autism Speaks is the only major medical or mental health nonprofit whose legitimacy is constantly challenged by a large percentage of the people affected by the condition they target." If this statement is coming from someone who worked with the organization and left because the organization treats Autism as if it were a stalker lurking in the shadows, what does that say about the organization as a whole? The disability rights movements' slogan is "Nothing About Us, Without Us." Why does an organization that clearly views Autism as a horrific disability refuse to have an Autistic presence among their superiors?
Only 3% of the overall earnings from Autism Speaks actually go to "family services." The same organization that put out the video "Autism Every Day"- in which a board member speaks about her desire to murder her Autistic daughter - does not actually do much to benefit the families that their existence is supposedly based around. "Autism Every Day" follows the lives of mothers of Autistic children. The video highlights the difficulties that Autism raises for parents, while completely ignoring the positive aspects and the lives of adult Autistic people. Several days after the video was released, a mother murdered her own Autistic daughter. While real Autistic adults are trying to be heard and do things to benefit the Autistic community, they are being drowned out by Autism Speaks while they promote the normalization of wanting to murder your child. This is what happens when we aren't allowed to speak for ourselves, and the reason why Autism Speaks chose the wrong name. Would you trust an all-male board to have the best understanding and motives to successfully run an organization for women's interest? No; not because no man wants women to be treated well, but because no man understands what women need as well as women do. While the Autistic community welcomes Neurotypical support and partnership, we deserve to have a presence and a say in what happens to us and to our future.
Autism "treatment" = torture
Autism Speaks features the Judge Rotenberg Center as an actual resource for Autistic people. The Judge Rotenberg Center uses torture as a method for treating (controlling) disabled children. From the beginning, the JRC has used slapping, forced inhalation of ammonia, severe pinching, food/sleep deprivation, and long-term isolation as primary methods of "rehabilitating" their students. The JRC relocated after one of the students died from the inhumane treatment, and Mathew Israel (founder) decided to incorporate electroshock therapy into his practices. This required the operation to relocate again once more.
An original device, known as graduated electronic decelerator, is used to shock the students at the JRC. Electrodes are attached to various areas of the body, and staff can press a button at any time that sends a shock to the patient that is much stronger than that of a police taser. "Unwanted behavior" can range from getting up without permission, to stimming, to the staff just being in a bad mood and pressing the button to shut a student up. It is known that at least six students have died as a result of this "treatment." A video of this is available online, and included in the warnings are "epilepsy" and "torture." It is quite sickening to see. The JRC is the only facility in the United States to use electroshock on disabled patients; there would be mayhem from the public if this practice were used on prisoners, and yet Autism Speaks doesn't only condone it, they recommend it! As long as the JRC is listed as a "service provider" by Autism Speaks, they are promoting abuse and torture to go right along with their preference for murder. Survivors of the abuse at the Judge Rotenberg Center take away mental and physical scars, such as bruises and permanent loss of sensation in limbs, not to mention the fact that the electrode devices can sometimes go off all on their own.
The offensive Puzzle Piece
The puzzle piece has become a symbol that represents the Autistic community due to Autism Speaks. The puzzle piece is used to spread Autism Awareness (not Acceptance) and has been interpreted to represent that Autism is a puzzle that needs to be solved. Alternatively, it is thought to represent the puzzle piece that people with Autism may be "missing." The first option is somewhat offensive to someone on the Spectrum, considering we spend so much time trying to put together the Neurotypical puzzle. We're distorted mysteries to be dissected and solved? Outside of pure science, no. The idea, however, that we are "missing" something is ridiculous and abhorrent. We are not missing anything. If anything, we are not missing enough to function normally in a society where people do not use logic and cannot see a corrupt organization right in front of their dazed faces. I cringe when Aspie friends show me their "pride" tattoos that include a puzzle piece.
Autism Speaks uses the puzzle piece and the phrase "Piece by Piece" as part of their fundraising agenda. Of course, barely any of that goes to help Autistic people in any way. The puzzle piece, along with the horrific blue light bulbs, are sold and marketed as symbols of Autism and as a way to show your support for the Autistic community. Yet again, Autism Speaks has muted Autism by capitalizing on the innate human desire for connection through shared experience as well as the desire to be a part of something larger than any one individual. The money doesn't go to replacing fluorescent lighting in classrooms for Autistic children, it doesn't go to funding hug-machines or heavy blankets for low-income households of Autistic children, and it certainly does not go to any adults on the Autistic Spectrum.
Alternatives to Autism Speaks
Autistic children and their families as well as adults with Autism and Asperger's do need support and acceptance, but we don't need (or receive) any help from Autism Speaks. Yes, Autism Speaks is the largest and most lucrative of the organizations that claim to represent the Autistic community. But they do not really help us. They are openly seeking to destroy the Autistic community systematically while also making an effort to keep us from being heard. Don't take my word for it: Read their site, look at their tax documentation and decide for yourself. Only a few of many very concerning issues regarding Autism Speaks are touched on here. But the sooner you begin supporting real Autism Advocacy, the better.
Luckily, there are organizations that do benefit people on the Autistic Spectrum. One of the best is the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. There are also plenty of options for self-education; if your child is Autistic, learning about Autism from people who actually have it will improve your relationship with your child monumentally. Donate lighting alternatives and materials for "sensory safe areas" to schools with Autistic children. Even reading the forums online for adults with Autism and Asperger's will give insight into the world of Autists, and if you've been brainwashed by Autism Speaks, they can help you see that people with Autism do grow to be adults, we do have emotions, and do contribute to society.
Scientific research into psychology, neurology, and neurodiversity is great. It's important because understanding and exploring the world is important to being human and the advancement of all aspects of society. Scientific research requires a large degree of objectivity, which is not something that is present in an organization that thrives on appealing to the emotions of anyone, much less uneducated masses. Donate to a research institute that doesn't have an agenda; Autism Speaks certainly does, and that is to end the existence of a harmless group of human beings.
Autism Speaks financial figures for 2012
36% Salaries, benefits, payroll taxes: $22,861,019
?25% Science grants/awards: $15,790,797
5% Travel, meals, lodging, entertainment, catering: $3,034,109
4% Advertising & Marketing: $2,827,316
3% Family Services grants & awards: $2,048,552
Percentages are based on the total reported expenditures of $64,127,886