THINKING PERSON'S GUIDE TO AUTISM. Stimtastic Chewable Jewelry, Stim Toys and Fidgets. Useful thing to do. Autism Women's Network – Autistic Self Advocacy Network. New Autism Speaks Masterpost (Updated 6/20/14) When a person thinks of the term “Autism Awareness” in the United States, it’s usually one organization that comes to mind – Autism Speaks.
It is heralded by celebrities, politicians, nonprofit and for profit organizations alike. Many parents of autistic children enthusiastically applaud their “efforts”, even partaking in fundraising, despite not knowing much about what those efforts entail. Ask an autistic person, however, and you might get quite a different picture of Autism Speaks. The number one tenet of any activism among disability groups is “Nothing About Us Without Us”, yet Autism Speaks can’t even manage to meet this one basic qualification. They have never had an autistic member on their board. The only autistic person high enough up in their leadership to be worth mentioning was John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s Syndrome and part of their science advisory board.
What’s the Difference Between High Functioning and Low Functioning Autism? Functioning Labels 101: What’s The Big Deal? If you’ve seen the #HighFunctioningMeans and #FunctioningLabelsMean Twitter hashtags, or more generally read or listened to a discussion by autistic people about functioning labels, you’ll know that, well, a lot of us really don’t like them, so I thought I’d write a 101 post about why that is, and what the alternatives are.
Wait, what’s a functioning label? Many autistic people find themselves at some point being described as having “high-functioning” or “low-functioning” autism. Which label is given to the person can depend on a number of arbitrary factors, but often involves verbal ability, ability to live independently, and (especially in children) academic ability. In other words, functioning labels are basically another way of saying whether or not you think a certain autistic person can pass for neurotypical. What’s so bad about functioning labels? Having said that, I would argue that “high-functioning” is not only a thinly veiled insult, it’s a threat.
Like this: Like Loading... Why We Must Strike the Terms “High Functioning” and “Low Functioning” from Our Vocabulary It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.— Jiddu Krishnamurtifunc·tion ˈfəNG(k)SH(ə)n/: verb 1. work or operate in a proper or particular way.
As I have various discussions about mental health and disability on the internet, I am disturbed at how many people continue to use the terms “high functioning” and “low functioning” when referring to people with psychiatric or other disabilities. I have heard people refer to their family members as “low functioning.” I have seen these terms used by advocates to bully and discredit other advocates who critique calls for increased levels of involuntary treatment as “high functioning” individuals who don’t know what they’re talking about. I’ve also heard about the term “high functioning” used by service providers to deny treatment to people who want it because they aren’t “sick” enough. The term “low functioning” is used to deny people voice and choice over their health care decisions. Why I am Against Autism Speaks (and you should be, too) Edit 6/20/14 I have updated this and created a new and hopefully better sourced and easier to read document.
Please go here: (TW: Ableism) Autism Speaks is the most well-known autism charity. They have the most media coverage and are endorsed by many celebrities, but this certainly does not make them a good organization. Autism Speaks does not have a single autistic member on their board.Autism Speaks only spends 4% of their budget on “family services”.Much of Autism Speaks’ money goes toward research, and much of that research centers on finding a way to eliminate autism, and thus, autistics (which will likely be done through a prenatal test, in the same way that the Down’s Syndrome test is conducted).Autism Speaks produces advertisments, small films, etc. about what a burden autistic people are to society.Autism Speaks was responsible for “Autism Every Day”, which featured a member of their board talking about contemplating murder-suicide of her daughter in front of her daughter.
Is Autism Speaks a Hate Group? Why Autism Speaks Doesn't Speak For Me.