Awareness brings attention to a problem
Acceptance helps people understand something that may have initially made them uncomfortable.
Awareness only increases knowledge about a problem
Acceptance makes people comfortable with something.
Awareness asks other people to learn more.
Acceptance starts with yourself, which is hard work.
To understand why Autism Speaks harms the autistic community, let’s look at their financial statements. Here is where Autism $peaks’ money goes, according to an ASAN analysis of their tax returns in 2018:
Let me break down why these financials are a problem. On the first slide, I explained that autism awareness is unnecessary because autism isn’t a problem; autism is simply natural human diversity that needs to be accepted. Additionally, what is Autism $peaks lobbying for? They don’t have any autistic leadership, so they certainly aren’t lobbying for the needs of the autistic community.
I also take issue with the way Autism $peaks spends its research money. Autism $peaks only stopped searching for an autism cure in 2016. Up until 2016, Autism $peaks open about the fact that they were researching a eugenicist goal. Scientists have known autism is primarily genetic since 1977. How do you cure a genetic condition? You stop people from having babies with those genes, which is eugenics. They are still researching the genetic sequences that cause autism (so that they can use that information in combination with CRISPR technology and make sure that no autistic babies are born? Maybe. That would be in line with their previous mission)
Why isn’t more of their research money going towards understanding why so many autistic people have insomnia and digestive issues? These are problems that impact the autistic community every day, whereas understanding precisely why we are autistic does not. As for spending 20% of their budget on fundraising, Charity Navigator gives Autism $peaks’ financials two out of four stars. All of their fundraising efficacy statistics are below average. Lastly, before my autism diagnosis, I always assumed that Autism $peaks primarily did family services. I went to them for help and they had nothing for me. Now I’m not surprised to see that only 1 percent of their budget goes to family services, but I believe that they have fundamentally misrepresented what their organization does.
Here are a few more scandals I haven’t mentioned. Autism $peaks’ president makes more than half a million dollars a year. A self-proclaimed white supremacist group participated in one of their fundraisers without reproach. Autism $peaks has connections to the Judge Rotenberg Center, a school that was condemned by the United Nations for torturing its students.
The bottom line is please don’t donate to Autism $peaks. Autism $peaks don’t help me, or intellectually disabled autistic people, or parents whose autistic kids have serious behavior problems, or anyone else they say they care about. They just line their pockets and the pockets of their rich friends.