The Hate Within the Puzzle Piece: Why Autism Speaks is a Hate Group

By Taylor Smith

April is often referred to as “Autism Awareness Month,” a month in which we may see items of clothing and other accessories meant to show support for autistic individuals. The images of puzzle pieces and the Autism Speaks organization have been branded into the minds of the public as being a charitable organization meant to help autistic people and those around them. However, as an autistic person I need to state that Autism Speaks is, in fact, a hate group.

You may be asking, “What makes Autism Speaks a hate group?”

To answer that question, we must first look at what defines a hate group. According to the American Library Association, a hate group is described as “a social group that advocates for and practices hatred, hostility, or violence towards members of society who are of a certain race, ethnicity, religion, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or any other designated sector of society.”

Autism speaks has shown much animosity towards autistic people. Many of the advertising campaigns they run portray autism as this horribly tragic mental illness that causes people who “suffer” from the “affliction” of autism to live miserable lives suffering from disease and disparity.

The co-founders of Autism Speaks, Bob and Suzanne Wright have stated “This disorder has taken our children away. It’s time to get them back.” Their children were never taken away, lost, or anything of the sort. They have been there the whole time and instead of loving and accepting them as they are, the Wrights choose to let hate and animosity drive them away from their children.

When it comes to the people in charge, Autism Speaks doesn’t have anyone on their board who has the “disability” they are claiming to help and be supportive of. What’s worse, they had no issues with having Alison Singer on the board of directors — a woman who openly admitted that she wanted to murder her autistic daughter.

Additionally, Autism Speaks actively works to silence the voices of autistic people. They often leave them out of making decisions to help “improve” their lives. This silencing includes trying to discredit autistic people’s voices through mockery and dismissive practices.

The organization attacks autistic individuals who speak up. They claim that those who do speak up or say that they are proud of who they are must be lying about their diagnosis or don’t understand that “treatments” have supposedly fixed their so-called problems. They claim that true autism can and will only manifest through screaming, soiling oneself, a lack of communication, and of course a life of dependency and humiliation.

Overall, Autism Speaks believes that those who are autistic are broken individuals who cause nothing but hardship for themselves and everyone around them.

Instead of supporting a group that thinks of autistic people as a burden to society, consider donating or lending support to other charities that work to support those with autism.

ASAN (Autistic Self Advocacy Network) is a group run entirely by individuals who are on the autistic spectrum. They provide a community, support network, and place for autistic people to advocate for themselves.

AWN (Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network) is an organization that shares accurate information to help build acceptance and understanding about autism spectrum disorder. They also work to dispel information and negative stereotypes to lessen the fears perpetuated by negative media.

SABE (Self Advocates Becoming Empowered) is a group that helps those with disabilities or disorders ensure that they are being treated equally. This means being granted the same rights, responsibilities, and chances for empowerment as any other person.

These are just a few programs you can support instead of Autism Speaks. Despite what you may have been told over the years, autism is not an endless world of suffering. It is not a burden on society, and it is certainly not the end of the world for people to have it or their families.

Autistic people, no matter where they are on the spectrum, have nothing missing. They deserve to exist in this world without judgement just as much as everyone else.

Let’s work together this April to transform Autism Awareness Month into Autism Acceptance Month — now and forever onward.


About Taylor Smith

Taylor is pursuing a degree in Graphic Design. They plan to graduate in Fall 2023 and finish their education at a 4-year university.
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