Saturday, 13 February 2016

On Not Liking and Not Sharing the Autism Speaks Teddy

This has appeared on my Facebook wall today.  It was shared by a very nice woman who of course only meant it for good.  Of course that's the case and I am not criticising her.  I know her to be a good woman who tries her best for everyone.  Let's face it, not so long ago if I'd seen the photo on my wall I'd have probably shared it too, a little gesture to help people be more aware of autism.  Because on the face of it that's a good aim to have.

And without some autism awareness people aren't to know that this is totally not the sort of awareness we want to be spreading.

The last year has been a steep learning curve for me and one of the things pretty much everyone said to me when I started reading about autism online and when learning to accept that I am autistic was a simple phrase.  "Avoid Autism Speaks."  (Apart from the people who implied I was an idiot or bad to even be wondering if I could be autistic.)

So I had to comment.  Bluntly.  I had to try to stop the progress of Teddy.  It's not Teddy's fault.  Poor Teddy.  They're a cute bear who has been recruited against their will.  If the bear could speak they would cry out "No! I don't want to be used this way!"

I'm posting it here partly because I believe in it and partly because the links below are pretty good and worth reading and if I don't blog them I'll lose them.  The letter from organisations like ASAN and the blog from thecaffeinatedautistic are far better than anything I'd be writing myself on the subject.

Sorry, I can't like or share that. Because I am autistic.

So. To spread some awareness:

It's an Autism Speaks blue bear. You probably don't know about Autism Speaks. I hadn't heard of them until a year ago. I think they're really very horrible. They have so often stood in the way of the rights of autistic people and have usually not allowed autistic people to have a voice or any say in how the organisation is run.

Here's a letter signed by The Autistic Self Advocacy Network and a whole load of other good groups:

This information page is clearly written and has sources for everything:

This wiki page is pretty good too and has lots of links at the bottom to nice people.

Yes - I've ended up with some strong opinions!


To be honest I don't think autism awareness is enough.  I am pushing for autism acceptance, just like everyone in the autistic rights movement.

That word map is excellent.  It comes from a really good website about autism acceptance and which calls, as I now do, for an autism acceptance month rather than an awareness month.  It's another site that is well worth reading.  It also has links to some great material on other sites and autism blogs - and the links change regularly.

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