Author Archives: Lei

About Lei

PACLA is an Autistic friendly space dedicated to guiding parents toward respectful supports and accommodations for their Autistic children through the concepts of gentle parenting and a belief in the value of neurodiversity.

45, Autism Speaks & The Future of Our Activism

We want to take a moment to acknowledge all the progress we have made since our grassroots efforts began. As one of our founding organizers has said:

“This is not just a boycott, this is a civil rights movement.”

It is important to see our progress but we must remember that it’s equally important to keep the pressure on Autism Speaks and their financial sponsors. We must continue to speak out against hate, ableism and fear. For over a decade, Autism Speaks has dominated the conversations about autism while ignoring the needs and wishes of the autistic community.  They have created an environment where we are feared, where our civil rights and autonomy are ignored, where we are told that we are unable to speak for ourselves as Autistic people. They have made this common place. Is it any surprise that our current president has adopted so much of their hateful rhetoric?

The disability community is facing threats like never before under the current administration. The US now has a president endorsed by the founder of Autism Speaks and who has already made attacks on the rights that disabled people have fought so hard for. We are facing the next four years of an administration that is anti science, that champions the widely discredited belief that autism is a vaccine injury, that has proposed eliminating services that help autistic and other disabled people live, work and participate in our communities. This is an administration that seeks to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which enables so many in our community to have access to health care. We now have a secretary of education who does not know what IDEA is and thinks that our federally protected civil rights should be “left to the states”.

This is a frightening time, but we are not powerless.

We must continue to challenge any organization that wants to speak for us, without us. We will challenge any administration that does the same. And it is vitally important to remember that the threats to those of us in multiply marginalized communities are ever present and cannot be underestimated. All of our movements are interconnected and we must keep working not just for disability rights, but for disability justice.

#BoycottAutismSpeaks is an autistic civil rights issue. #BlackLivesMatter is an autistic civil rights issue. #Resist is an autistic civil rights issue.

 

-Organizers of Boycott Autism Speaks

#ActuallyAutistic People React to Autism Speaks “Change” in Mission Statement

Recently, Autism Speaks announced a change in its mission statement.  They have removed the word “cure” while keeping words like “interventions”, “solutions” and talk about research into the causes of autism, which still implies that they have not distanced themselves completely from eugenics and “prevention” of autism.   

Autism Speaks claims to want to increase “understanding and acceptance” after over a decade of working against those very things.  This is not the language or intentions of autism acceptance. While this has been portrayed as a move forward, we at Boycott Autism Speaks are more than skeptical.  

 

What do #actuallyautistic people think?



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Image: Screen shot of a Facebook comment from Kassiane Alexandra S. that reads

 

They haven’t apologized to autistics specifically or generally.

Therefore, they are still flagrant trash.”
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Image: Screen shot of a Facebook comment by Lei Wiley-Mydske that reads:

 

“Autism Speaks saying they are done searching for a cure reminds me of how they claimed to distance themselves from the shit science linking autism and vaccines while still funding studies into supposed links between autism and vaccines. So, forgive me for my pattern recognition. And they still have over a decades worth of apologies to make to autistic people and our families.#stillboycottingautismspeaks #boycottautismspeaks
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Image: Screen shot of a Facebook comment by Nick Walker that reads:


The anti-autistic hate group Autism $peaks has updated its mission statement to remove references to “curing” autism. Some folks are talking about this as if it’s a huge step forward. Don’t be fooled. The new version of the mission statement has replaced the now-unfashionable word “cure” with repeated use of the word “solutions.” From a group that has consistently used the same sort of pro-eugenics rhetoric that the Nazis used (e.g., calling disabled people “burdens”), and continues to fund eugenics research, the use of the word “solution” is far more chilling than “cure.” It’s a code word that we Jews have heard before.”


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Image: Screen shot of a Facebook comment by Amy Sequenzia that reads:

“So, Autism $peaks dropped the “cure” from its mission statement.

If you think I will praise the organization, you don’t know me.

The words A$ released look pretty at first sight, but I have learnt that when it comes to parent-led organizations, we need to pay attention to every word.

“Causes” and “interventions” are still there.

If you want to know the “causes”, the objective is prevention (eugenics)

“Interventions” = ABA. It means change who we are by torturous methods

Besides, where are the apologies for the years of hate, dismissal, silencing, and marketing against our existence?

I haven’t seen that statement yet

Still #BoycottAutismSpeaks”

 

Autistic adult Corina Becker reacted to the change on their blog, No Stereotypes Here:

 

“You want to change? Show us you can actually change.  Until then, we’re not falling for your superficial gloss over, your charade.  You’re not actually supporting us, you’re not actually listening to us, and until there is fundamental changes, you never will.”

 

 

#BoycottAutismSpeaks Statement on 50 Cent’s “Apology Donation” to Autism Speaks

Earlier this week, 50 Cent posted a video to his Instagram account mocking and  bullying a young autistic man, Andrew Farrell.   He later apologized and attempted to make amends by making a large donation to Autism Speaks.  As expected, the media surrounding this event has centered the experiences of the victim’s family while completely ignoring what, if anything the actually autistic person has to say.  A hastily made donation to an organization that works against autistic people is not an apology, even with the best of intentions.

Many in the Autistic Community share our frustration.

As The Black Autist said on their Facebook page:

“As a black autistic person, I accept your apology for mocking a young autistic employee live on Instagram.

However, you screwed things up when you hastily donated to Autism Speaks with little to no research on the company. I understand you want to contribute to a good cause as a sign that you want to spread autism awareness. But donating to Autism $peaks is not the way to do it. They do not stand for autism acceptance and empowering the autistic community. A$ seeks to cure autism and only make money to advertise how tragic autism is.”

Activist and BAS Organizer Amy Sequenzia responded as well:

How is this helping if he is “apologizing” for mocking an Autistic person by donating money to an organization that will not only mock, but dehumanize Autistics?”

In making a donation to a group that is largely considered a hate group by many in the autistic community, 50 Cent is now financially supporting the silencing, bullying and erasure of actually autistic voices.  We realize that it was very likely not his intent to do more harm.  However, harm has been done.  We encourage everyone to please research BEFORE you donate to make sure that you are actually helping the people that your organization purports to serve.  We encourage 50 Cent to reach out to actually autistic voices to learn about the harm that Autism Speaks does to our community.   Please support organizations such as Autism Women’s Network and The Autistic Self Advocacy Network that are by and for autistic people and that work toward autistic civil rights instead of against them.

#BoycottAutismSpeaks