My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Autism Speaks Inc, Princeton, NJ, USA
As the parent of a child on the spectrum, I have been consistently dismayed - and increasingly outraged - by the continual fearmongering that is central to the communications strategy of Autism Speaks. This week, again, I was shocked to read statements on their website (by founder Suzanne Wright) that autistic children are "missing" children and that families with kids on the spectrum are "not living." The idea that this organizations somehow represents autistic people is built into their very name, and it is shameful that they have not recognized that they way they frame autism only perpetuates and perhaps even magnifies fear and stigma that ultimately functions to marginalize people like my son.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Most immediately, Autism Speaks needs to change how it frames the issue. But this is not as simple as hiring a branding firm. Autism Speaks needs to engage more constructively with people on the spectrum who can bring their lived experience to shaping how the organization presents autistic spectrum disorder, improve its political analysis and use its power to combat discrimination, and hold it accountable for the message it delivers.
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