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First Published Saturday, 7 March 2009


Lindt

Hello,

Recently, Lindt Chocolates announced a fundraising campaign for Autism
Speaks, an organization that excludes autistic people themselves from its
decision-making, uses offensive and unethical advertising tactics based on
fear and pity and raises funds for the eugenic elimination of the autism
spectrum. Too often, money raised to improve our lives goes towards
organizations that don’t speak for us and work against our interests. People
with disabilities of all kinds have a right to be at the center of the
decisions made about us, not standing at the sidelines. We’ve started an
action alert to tell Lindt Chocolates that its money is better used
elsewhere, with charities whose work will benefit the lives of autistic
people rather than aim to eliminate us. Click here
<http://www.change. org/autisticadvo cacy/actions/ view/tell_ lindt_chocolates _that_autism_ speaks_doesnt_ speak_for_ us>to
go to our action alert or go to:
http://www.change. org/autisticadvo cacy/actions/ view/tell_ lindt_chocolates _that_autism_ speaks_doesnt_ speak_for_ us

The action alert allows you to write your own e-mail or use a form letter
already available, however, for those of you who want to write your own
e-mail or can’t use the action alert for whatever reason, here are some
talking points on why Autism Speaks is bad for the autism and autistic
communities. Lindt Chocolate’s e-mail is here: lindt@qualitycustom ercare.com

-Autism Speaks is an autism organization that claims to speak for autistic
people, without a single autistic person on its board of directors or
leadership. This is far out of line with the mainstream of the disability
community, where individuals with disabilities work side by side with family
members, professionals and others to achieve quality of life and equality of
opportunity. Autism Speaks’ exclusionary policies are an embarrassment to
itself and its funders.

-Autism Speaks advertising is highly offensive to autistic people and our
families, with ads that compare a life on the autism spectrum to a car
accident, being struck by lightning, a terminal illness and other fatal
situations. Rather than work to decrease stigma and increase respect for
autistic people, Autism Speaks’ advertising fosters pity, shame and fear,
suggesting that our very lives are mistakes and burdens.

-Autism Speaks’ fundraising goes towards genetic research aimed at
developing a prenatal test with potentially eugenic applications. Given the
fact that 92% of fetuses that test positive for Down Syndrome are
selectively aborted prior to birth, we are concerned by the prospect of a
similar result in respect to the autism spectrum. This is an issue of
discrimination, wholly separate from typical abortion politics. Money raised
in the name of autistic people should go towards opportunities for quality
of life, not towards our elimination. Autism Speaks research agenda is
overwhelmingly focused on causation and prevention rather than research
initiatives that might support quality of life for all autistic people. This
drains support from initiatives that stand to improve the quality of life of
autistic people, such as services, supports and education, which Autism
Speaks supports in only a tiny fraction of its massive budget.

Thank you to those who alerted us of this situation and we urge your
immediate support. Together, our voices cannot be ignored. Nothing About Us,
Without Us!

Regards,
Ari Ne’eman
President
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
1660 L Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.autistic advocacy. org
732.763.5530


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