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New York

We’ll be gathering at Seventh Avenue and 57th Street, 154 West 57th Street
in New York City from 6 PM to 8 PM to hold up signs and hand out flyers to
Autism Speaks sponsors going in to their New York City concert with Bruce
Springsteen and Jerry Seinfeld. Come join us! Please RSVP to
aneeman@autisticadvocacy.org or go to the facebook event page here:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?invites&eid=205191180125


Please distribute to your friends, contacts and listservs!


WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?


1. Autism Speaks talks about us without us. Not a single Autistic person is
on Autism Speaks’ Board of Directors or in their leadership. Autism Speaks
is one of an increasingly few number of major disability advocacy
organizations that refuse to include any individual with the disability they
purport to serve on their board of directors or at any point in their
leadership and decision-making processes. In large part due to Autism
Speaks’ public relations strategy of presenting Autistic people as silent
burdens on society rather than human beings with thoughts, feelings and
opinions.


2. They use fear and stigma to try and raise money off the backs of our
people. Autism Speaks uses damaging and offensive fundraising tactics which
rely on fear, stereotypes and devaluing the lives of people on the autism
spectrum. Autism Speaks’ advertising claims that Autistic people are stolen
from our own bodies. Its television Public Service Announcements compare
having a child on the autism spectrum to having a child caught in a fatal
car accident or struck by lightning. In fact, the idea of autism as a fate
worse than death is a frequent theme in their fundraising and awareness
efforts, going back to their “Autism Every Day” film in 2005. Indeed,
throughout Autism Speaks’ fundraising is a consistent and unfortunate theme
of fear, pity and prejudice, presenting Autistic adults and children not as
full human beings but as burdens on society that must be eliminated as soon
as possible.


3. Very little money donated to Autism Speaks goes toward helping Autistic
people and families: According to their 2008 annual report, only 4% of
Autism Speaks’ budget goes towards the “Family Service” grants that are the
organization’s means of funding services. Given the huge sums of money
Autism Speaks raises from local communities as compared to the miniscule
sums it gives back, it is not an exaggeration to say that Autism Speaks is a
tremendous drain on the ability of communities to fund autism
service-provision and education initiatives Furthermore, while the bulk of
Autism Speaks’ budget (65%) goes toward genetic and biomedical research,
only a small minority of Autism Speaks’ research budget goes towards
research oriented around improving services, supports, treatments and
educational methodologies, with most funding going towards basic research
oriented around causation and genetic research, including the prospect of
prenatal testing. Although Autism Speaks has not prioritized services with a
practical impact for families and individuals in its budget, its rates of
executive pay are the highest in the autism world, with annual salaries as
high as $600,000 a year.


Link to our Joint Letter Against Autism Speaks, signed by over 60 Disability
Rights Groups:
http://www.autisticadvocacy.org/modules/smartsection/item.php?itemid=61



Ari Ne’eman
President
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
http://www.autisticadvocacy.org
info@autisticadvocacy.org
(202) 596-1056


————————————————
Take a look at our innovative new Public Service Announcement produced with
the Dan Marino Foundation at http://www.nomyths.org


If you like what we do, help support the Autistic Self Advocacy Network by
making a donation at:
https://www.change.org/donation/create?charity_id=211198



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