Honestly, when I initially heard about this, I thought, “meh, whatever.” I’ve posted before that I’ve never been a huge fan of them, just seemed like the right thing to do–supporting them. No harm, no foul, right? Wrong!
Then, I visited the Boycott Autism Speaks website.
Autism Speaks’ fundraising efforts pull money away from local communities, returning very little funds for the critical investments in services and supports needed by autistic people and our families. Only 4% of funds donated to Autism Speaks are reinvested in services and supports for autistic people and our families. Across the country, local communities have complained that at a time when state budget cutbacks are making investment in local disability services all the more critical, Autism Speaks fundraisers take money away from needed services in their community. In addition, while the majority of Autism Speaks’ funding goes towards research dollars, few of those dollars have gone to the areas of most concern to autistic people and our families–services and supports, particularly for autistics reaching adulthood and aging out of the school system. According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee, only 1% of Autism Speaks’ research budget goes towards research on service quality and less than one-quarter of 1% goes towards research on the needs of autistic adults.
I also want to note here, that while I am a proponent of people-first language, many people in the autism community, particularly those with autism, prefer it the other way and don’t mind being called autistics. For me, it feels really disrespectful to not use people-first language, but c’est la vie. But yes, you don’t need to email me and tell me that it’s on their site–I see it.
On December 20, a virtual boycott of Autism Speaks is being held. You can call, email, text, tweet, post on Facebook pages…it’s all there on their website. Hey, December 20 is a busy day for me too…I have two school programs to attend, but I can preschedule a few things on Hootsuite and write up emails and send them out that day.
Anyway, for your Tuesday to-do list this week, I’m just asking you to take a look at the site and determine if you want to participate.