Moral Compass: Boycott Autism Speaks

Moral Compass

My moral compass leans more toward how I treat others than personal beliefs. I do not feel I have the right to tell others how to worship, whom to love, or what to spend their money on. Yet this same compass also impels me to insist on the fair and ethical treatment of others. Equality, empathy and dignity should center the civilized soul and direct future generations.

To pursue social justice, I volunteered years of service to non-profit organizations. Alas, I discovered not all charities are benevolent organizations.  Some are self-serving profit machines, more concerned with lavish salaries than philanthropy.  I deemed Autism Speaks to be such an organization a few years ago.

Organizational greed becomes infinitely foul when it stigmatizes the people it serves to earn pity dollars through sensational claims. In November of last year, the co-founder of Autism Speaks, Susan Wright published “Autism Speaks to Washington — A Call for Action.”

She describes autism as a thief, a dire illness that steals millions of children. Further, she implicates autistic children as the source of broken families, bankruptcies, and endless adversity.  This inflammatory missive contradicts my views absolutely, yet the insinuation that autistic people are unworthy offends the most.

Protesting Autism Speaks is protesting their negative portrayal of autistic individuals for cash.  The following quote captures the need people have to protest, boycott, and campaign against this organization:


I urge you to take action by sending a loud message to Autism Speaks. Boycott their corporate sponsors. Do not let Autism Speaks profit from their false and offensive campaign.

I urge you to take action by promoting Autism Positivity. Spread articles that humanize and depict the experiences of actual autistics. Do not let any person be misrepresented or stigmatized.

We can create an inclusive and accepting future. Follow your moral compass.

To learn more about the Boycott Autism Speaks Movement visit the Boycott Autism Speaks website or their Facebook Page.

Links below redirect to articles by my blog roll authors. Please comment to include other articles or if I missed someone.

30 Days of Autism

Autism Positivity Flashblog

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Autistic Women’s Network

Emma’s Hope Book

Married, With Aspergers 

Not The Way It Seems

Paula C. Durbin-Westby Autistic Advocacy Blog

Raising Rebel Souls


The Autism Wars

Think Inclusive

This Is Autism Flashblog

Thoughts of an Introverted Matriarch

Tiny Grace Notes (AKA Ask an Autistic)

Unstrange Mind

This post is participating in the T-21 Blog Hop.

18 thoughts on “Moral Compass: Boycott Autism Speaks

  1. I think we must take position when people are harmed. I am pro dialogue but where people are stuck on attitudes that hurt autistics, promote language and methods that are humiliating or physically dangerous, our focus must be to be the loud voice of protest and real information and insight to avoid more parents – and the broad public – to believe the propaganda.
    Great post, lots to read 🙂

    1. Thank you, Suburp! I appreciate your support and stance. I am glad you mentioned dialogue. At times I am instantly attracted to action because it is so concrete. It feels good to *do* something. Boycotting makes sense because I feel money is rewarding fear mongering. Negative propaganda is a terrifying thing in our house, especially since my husband’s family lived through Stalin’s reign. I’m not trying to compare the two, but to explain my revulsion for the tactic. Thanks again for your support and words.

      Lori D.

  2. Beautiful, as always. Perhaps include Lots of posts there about what’s wrong with the way autism speaks portrays autism and autistic people. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate the compliment and the important addition to my article. I am mortified that I missed the Flashblog! It was our community’s reaction to her letter! I went through my blogroll and searched for articles, but sometimes my brain deserts me! 🙂 Thanks again!

  3. I struggle so much with this. It seems the autism community, all of us in of society affected by this wide spectrum of autism in one way or another, are so busy fighting each other that we don’t get anywhere. Isn’t it quite possible that before we can fight for acceptance or maybe even while we are fighting for acceptance and inclusion, that we need to be heard by the powers that can actually do something? By that I mean our legislators. If we paint the picture to them that we don’t really have a “problem”, then why would they appropriate any funds toward our community’s needs? And yes, some families are really struggling with this. Lets not forget some of the horrible news stories of late. There are families out there hanging on by a string. I don’t really hear any insinuation that autistic people are unworthy. Quite the contrary. I hear her fighting for them because they are worthy. Remember, her audience in this writing was our legislators, not the autistic community. Sometimes I feel like we need to do whatever it takes to crack open the door, so that then we can walk in and address all the other things everyone is so passionate about. I absolutely hear what you are saying, but maybe we shouldn’t be funneling our energy against an organization that is on our side, but instead, lifting each other up, and allowing all of our voices to be heard. Everyone is afraid to put themselves “out there” because they are going to get slammed by their own teammates. I really wish we could all take a breath and a step back, and consider what her real motives were, whether we all agree with the way she went about it or not, whether some of the pictures she painted are our own experiences or not.

  4. ‘Do not let any person be misrepresented or stigmatized…

    …We can create an inclusive and accepting future. Follow your moral compass.’

    i have always admired you and your writings. <3

    1. Thank you so much for visiting with me, J. I appreciate your compassion and acceptance. We can do much good it the world with positivity and honest voices. <3

      Lori D.

  5. I like your moral compass a lot! I wish more people had a moral compass like that! Don’t tell others what personal choices to make for themselves, but do speak up when you see others being hurt! How much simpler can it get? 😉

    1. Thank you so much, Angel! And forgive my late response. I have a terrible time organizing myself! I regret the times in my life when through ignorance, confusion, or fear I have held my tongue. I am trying hard to be a better person.

  6. Autism Speaks is a most horrid entity!! There are so many lies and wives tales within it and it follows the lagging view that I’ve seen in Canada….the autistic are animal-like and normal is what is required. Blech. I think that they probably have done good and decent things–even if simply bringing together persons and families with ASD together so that they can themselves network–taking what they want and leaving the rest, hopefully with good sense, kindness, and appropriate and accurate medical information.

  7. Thank you for posting this. As a fellow Autistic person, sadly there are many, many, many misconceptions about Autism and very little facts. At least you did your research on why Autism Speaks is bad rather than spread propaganda about something you don’t know just to make a quick buck. For those who are reading this, it can be anyone at all, there is a site on YouTube called “Ask an Autistic” and I highly recommend her channel if you want actual facts about Autism rather than propaganda.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting Jessica. AS frightened our family very much when we were going through our diagnosis process. Since that time, I have found that the best resources and advice come from autistic adults and their allies. I hope we can push this movement so the next generation of parents are better informed, less confused, and completely accepting.

      Lori D.

  8. I think this is a broader issue of people not truly understanding what autism is. I recently was talking to someone about telling another person I was on the spectrum, and she said I shouldn’t tell anyone because it would label me. Yes, it will, but the label itself shouldn’t be only negative. More, almost all of my “problems” stem from the fact that neurotypicals so no interest whatsoever in learning how I behave and how and why it’s different. I find no difficulties communicating with other people on the spectrum (unless they are extremely severe, and then I can still do a better job than can any neurotypical).

    I talk about such issues on my own blog An Intense World, if you’re interested. We literally have a different kind of mind, emergent from a different kind of brain, than do neuroptyical people. We don’t have behavioral problems, we don’t have communication disorders–we have behavioral and communication differences that make sense among people on the spectrum. That’s the narrative we need to promote.

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