Tag Archives: Autism Speaks

William Shatner Doubles Down on Lighting it Up Blue

In Joel and Ethan Coen’s “Barton Fink,” there’s a scene where the title character (John Turturro), a pretentious playwright who’s moved to Hollywood, meets his new neighbor Charlie (John Goodman), an insurance salesman. Fink shares his ambition to tell stories about “the common man,” with Charlie piping up that he could “tell you some stories” several times. Fink doesn’t take the hint, simply steamrolling ahead instead of listening to the guy whose voice he’s supposedly out to capture. It can be a frustratingly similar experience for a member of a marginalized group trying to get a word in edgewise with someone claiming to advocate for you, especially if they’re being less helpful than they imagine they are. It can be mortifying to be told you’re hindering rather than helping, but someone who sincerely cares about their advocacy will make time to listen to those affected by it. And then there’s William Shatner, … Continue Reading ››

Lindt Breaks with Autism Speaks

Chocoholics have reason to celebrate this April. The chocolate company Lindt is no longer supporting Autism Speaks. On March 30, Lindt USA responded on Twitter to concerned activist @lechatsavant. When asked about supporting Autism Speaks, Lindt tweeted: “Hi there. This year, Lindt USA has decided to move in a different direction with our Easter program. Thank you.” The company has not otherwise commented on the shift. Its website currently makes no mention of autism or Autism Speaks. While Autism Speaks’ official website still lists Lindt as a partner, that possibly refers to the company’s past support of the organization. This represents a welcome change from years past. Since 2009, Lindt has partnered with Autism Speaks during the month of April through its Lindt Gold Bunny Celebrity Auction. The coincidence of Autism Awareness Month with Easter enabled the fundraiser. In previous years, between 60 and 90 celebrities signed Lindt’s signature GOLD … Continue Reading ››

There are Bigger Threats to Autistics Than Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is anti-autistic. Autism Speaks spends too much money on cause and cure research rather than things that are actually helpful.  Autism Speaks would like to ensure that future generations of autistic people are never born. All of those things are true. But you know what else is true? Autism Speaks is not the only threat to autistic people’s well-being and autonomy right now. In fact, in the era of Donald Trump’s presidency, it is hard to make the case that Autism Speaks is even close to the biggest threat. This is not a defense of Autism Speaks. Like most autistic people involved in the neurodiversity community, I am disgusted with Autism Speaks’ long history of ableism. However, I do question whether anti-Autism Speaks activism should be our number one priority as a community at this point. When we focus all of our energies on Autism Speaks, it becomes easy to forget … Continue Reading ››

Autism Speaks: How Long Does It Take to Look into It?

Team pages for the Autism Speaks Walks are pretty standard fare. You can go to each page to learn a little bit about a team who is pledging to raise money and donate to them yourself. A quick search of participants shows a wide variety of folks including companies, families, and organizations, which made the “Soldiers of Odin Canada - Ontario South Division“ not particularly unique outside of the comparatively large roster (most team pages are for about 2 people, Soldiers’ page has 10). That is of course, unless you know who the Soldiers of Odin are. At first glance, one might assume they’re just a biker group. Both the name and their team picture, featuring a number of guy all wearing leathers and jean vests, suggest as much. Being a biker group is fine. Bikers have been making the headlines for … Continue Reading ››

Autism Self-Diagnosis is not Special Snowflake Syndrome

Recently, 4chan-flavored trolls invaded the #autchat hashtag. For the uninitiated, Autchat is a bi-weekly discussion group for Autistic people. Past topics have included friendship, autistic representation in media and strategies for coping with executive dysfunction. The community is usually warm, welcoming and a great place to learn. Instead, participants were told to commit suicide or drink bleach to ‘cure’ autism. The source of their ire? An Autchat regular and middle-aged mother of two described herself as ‘informally diagnosed.’ Autism self-diagnosis is a topic that can evoke strong feelings in many people. It isn’t unusual for adults to self-diagnose. It also isn’t unusual to get a lot of push back or even violent threats for self-diagnosis. Why does self-diagnosis make people so angry? More importantly, why do people self-diagnose in the first place? The hostility directed at self-diagnosis is, fundamentally, based in ignorance of what factors lead to its existence: Healthcare … Continue Reading ››