April is Autism Acceptance (or Awareness) month, and you might be asked to Light It Up Blue to show your support of Autism Speaks. However… if you want to actually support people with autism, I’d suggest making a donation elsewhere.
There’ve been a lot of posts about what’s so bad about Autism Speaks, so in a quick summary: the message in almost all of their advertising is that autism is a disease hiding the “true child” (implying that people with autism aren’t real people), and that we need to fix autistic people by curing autism (and thus most of their effort/money goes to finding the cause/a cure). Unfortunately, many autistic people (myself included) disagree with this perspective, as we’re definitely real people, and many of us feel our autism/aspergers gives us a unique perspective on the world – and “curing” us of that would make us totally different people.
There are other problems with Autism Speaks, but I’ll let this post explain them all.
So, what should you do instead? Celebrate Autism Acceptance Month — honestly, most people are aware of an autism stereotype, take some time to learn from actually-autistic people. A short list of blogs I’d suggest:
- Feminist Aspie
- E is for Erin
- Musings of an Aspie
- Emma’s Hope Book
- The “Ask an Autistic” video series
There’re way more blogs than just those, you can also click around the neurodiversity and #actuallyAutistic tags on WordPress.com and twitter. Around April, the tags #REDinstead and #WalkInRed are also used, as a counterpoint to the blue of Autism Speaks’ event.
What if you still want to donate? Check out local Autism support organizations in your area, or donate to the Autistic Self Advocacy Network or Autism Women’s Network.