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Revoke Autism Speaks' status as a charitable organisation

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I was told that I am autistic at the age of twenty-five whilst participating in a rehabilitation program that, as often takes place, went nowhere. In the time since, many revelations have come my way, but none so distressing as the existence and nature of the organisation known as Autism Speaks. Colloquially and not-so-jokingly, I refer to it by many variations on this name, all of which revolve around the fact that it is an organisation of normalists, funded by normalists, and serving normalists.

Autism Speaks differs from an organisation acting in the interests of the autistic in a number of ways, including but not limited to:

*Disease-model promotion
Autism Speaks' has recently started advertising with an image of a child and text asking the observer how nice it would be to eliminate cancer, diabetes, and autism during this child's life time.

I have had diabetes for longer than I have known that I was autistic. I was diagnosed with insulin-depedent diabetes on my mother's birthday in 1988. The similarities between diabetes and being autistic can be summed up in one word: none. Whilst I loathe to say it, diabetes can and does kill people in a very direct fashion. Leaving aside the damage to the vascular system and other important parts of the body that diabetes inflicts over time, hypoglycaemia is a very painful way to die. Hypoglycaemia kills in a similar manner to hydrocyanic gas, in fact. The brain dies from being deprived of a nutrient it needs to function (oxygen or glucose).

Oh wait, I misspoke. There is one similarity between diabetes and autism. To both autistic people and people with diabetes, the level of ignorance among the unwashed public concerning autism and diabetes is heartbreaking and astounding. Pardon me for not mentioning that sooner. It is still, I am sure you can agree, a far lower level of similarity than Autism Speaks wants the public to believe.

Nobody has ever died as a direct result of being autistic. People have been murdered for being autistic, but saying that people die from being autistic in light of this is like saying that the people who were lynched during the civil rights movement died as a result of being black. It is insulting and degrading to the deceased.

I also have a history of skin cancers that goes back some way. Depending on whether you start counting at the basal cell carcinoma that was cut out of my cheek or the mole that was turning into a melanoma that was cut out of my chest, this history goes back at least one decade.

So far as I can remember, I have never needed to have sensitive parts of my person removed as a survival measure as a result of being autistic. That should be all I need to tell a man of your educational level about how similar cancer is with being autistic.

*Exclusion of the people they purport to represent
I hate to resort to oft-repeated statements, but during my grandmother's lifetime, there was a time when you yourself would not be thought of as a person. Decisions would be made concerning where you can live, who you can associate with, and what you can do with your life, all without you being consulted. During my mother's lifetime, people assured themselves that with the passage of laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, such a terrible situation would not occur in the First World again.

They were mistaken.

Autism Speaks proclaims that autistic people want to be cured of being autistic. Whilst some autistic adults believe this to be the case in a sort of self-loathing manner that I do not doubt you have seen examples of in the past, the fact is that these people are a very small minority, and the disgust with which they are greeted by the rest of the adult autistic population has to be seen to be believed.

Autism Speaks only appoint autistic individuals to their decision-making board as a form of tokenism. These members are in a minority (of one, last I looked), and when the process is carefully examined, it becomes apparent that their decision-making power is precisely nil.

This brings me to another point that I think you should be more concerned about.

*Autism Speaks are frauds
If a commercial enterprise deliberately misled potential customers about the nature of its product and why they created it, they would be taken to court. The legal ramifications would be quite heavy. And if these sales tactics were to result in the deaths of customers, charges of murder would be filed against specific members of the commercial enterprise.

Or so I am hoping.

Autism Speaks deliberately misleads ignorant donors about what they are doing. They paint a strawman of autism that neither coincides with the reality nor takes into account the perspective of the autistic individual.

Autism Speaks promotes "treatments" of autism that are not only based on "science" that is completely lacking in a plausible rationale, but have killed children.

Autism Speaks has consistently refused to allow the voices of actual autistic people to be heard. Study their commercials carefully. Do you ever see an autistic person being allowed to talk to the audience without their words being distorted? No.

Autism Speaks rarely, if ever, even mentions autistic adults. They would rather autistic adults be kept out of the picture. This is because autistic adults can talk back. Hence, it is better for Autism Speaks that the children be kept in the background in a token role and brainwashed parents do all the talking on their behalf.

Additionally, the similarity between Autism Speaks advertisements, or indeed Autism As A Disease (TM) advertisements and Nazi Propaganda such as the infamous "this is your money, fellow German" poster is staggering.

Any one of these elements would get a more prominently-known organisation with charity status such as Diabetes America or the Cancer Council stripped of that charity status and prohibited from soliciting donations.

*Explicitly threatening the autistic
Autism Speaks' website used to state their mission as being (among other things) to "...prevent cases of autism". Autism is present from birth. A number of qualified and meritous scientists including the like of Professor Anthony Attwood would tell you that the genetic patterns that cause the brain to develop in an autistic manner develop in-utero.

Hence, the only feasible manner in which to prevent autism is to abort autistic fetuses before they are born.

What kind of charitable organisation threatens the people it claims to be representing in this manner, Mister President?

This list barely even scratches the surface, but I think it should be incredibly clear by now that autistic individuals not just in America but everywhere in the world would benefit enormously from having Autism Speaks stripped of its tax exempt status and labelled a hate group by your government.

As an autistic thirty-something who is constantly being denied services that might help him live a better life on the basis of being too old or not autistic enough, the legion of stories I see in the online news every day about autistic individuals of various age groups being murdered for being autistic is quite stressful. And Autism Speaks can, simply through the expedient of proper analysis of their advertising, be held culpable for them. The prosecution of the murder of Alex Spourdalikis as a hate crime, whilst representing progress, is not enough. Autism Speaks should be held accountable for their role in this and many other murders.

I hope that reading this petition and further investigation of the issue I have barely scratched the surface of in it will prove instructive. In any case, thank you for taking the time to read it.



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