Sunday, November 7, 2010

ASAN members protest Autism Speaks Walk for Autism in DC

From ASAN:. Here's the Facebook page with pictures from the protest.

Members of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area Chapter of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network demonstrated against Autism Speaks’ Walk for Autism on Saturday November 6th on the National Mall from 8:00am – 1:00pm.

Autistic Activists and their allies across the disability community carried signs and distributed fliers to walk participants between 14th & 15th Streets and Jefferson & Madison Drives. The National Mall demonstration was part of a series of demonstrations being held across the United States this autumn.

This demonstration is intended to draw walk participants’ attention to Autism Speaks’ lack of representation for those it claims to serve; its exploitative advertising and fundraising practices which compare having a child with Autism to being in a fatal situation, and the failure of Autism Speaks to spend money in ways that help Autistic people across the life-span.

Complaints Against Autism Speaks Include:

* Only four cents out of every dollar raised by Autism Speaks goes toward family support services.

* Although Autism Speaks claims to speak for autistic people, it does not have, and never has had, even one autistic person on its board of directors or in its leadership. This is far out of line with the mainstream of the disability community, where individuals with disabilities work side by side with family members, professionals, and others to achieve quality of life and equality of opportunity.

* Autism Speaks has time and again compared life on the autism spectrum to potentially fatal situations, such as car crashes, hypothermia, cancer and AIDS. Citing the 1 in 110 incidence rate, founder Bob Wright claimed in April 2010, “No country can afford to lose one per cent of its population.”

* Autism Speaks' rates of executive pay are the highest in the autism world, with annual salaries as high as $600,000 a year - roughly the amount raised at last year's walk in Columbus.