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Autism Speaks Inc. is a controversial autism advocacy "organization" in the United States that sponsors autism research and conducts awareness and outreach activities aimed at families, governments, and the public.
Why They're Rotten
- Only 1.6% of Autism Speaks’ budget goes towards the “Family Service” grants that are the organization’s means of funding services. Autism Speaks spends 10x as much—16%—on fundraising.
- Autism Speaks 'has only 2 autistic people out of a total of 26 individuals on its Board of Directors.
- Autism Speaks’ fundraising strategies promote fear, stigma, and prejudice against autistic people.
- Autism Speaks's advocacy has been based on the mainstream medical view of autism as a disease: "This disease has taken our children away. It’s time to get them back."
- They do nothing to help autistic people.
- In January 2008, an autistic blogger, upset with the portrayal of autism at Autism Speaks's website, "Getting the Word Out", created a critical parody website titled "Getting the Truth Out". It was later taken down in response to legal demands from Autism Speaks to stop using its name and logo without permission.
- In September 2009, Autism Speaks screened the short video "I Am Autism" at its annual World Focus on Autism event. It literally portrayed autism as an evil disease that should be stopped.
- Autism Speaks formerly assigned a high priority to research into the now-discredited claim that immunization is associated with an increased risk of autism.
- Autism Speaks sponsored and distributes the short film Autism Every Day, produced by Lauren Thierry and Eric Solomon. Autism Speaks staff member Alison Singer was reportedly criticized for a scene in which she said, in the presence of her autistic daughter, that when faced with having to place the girl in a school that she deemed inadequate, she contemplated driving her car off a bridge with her child in the car.