Friday, October 8, 2010

Ohio ASAN chapter to protest Autism Speaks walk Oct. 10

From the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) - Central Ohio/Ohio State:

Join us as we protest the Autism Speaks walk for autism on Sunday, October 10 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. We are actively looking for fellow protesters -- come one, come all!

We will be protesting Autism Speaks' lack of community support, its support for eugenics, its unethical advertising practices, its failure to include any Autistic people in its decision-making processes, and its extraordinarily high executive pay.

We'll be meeting at the corner of Fred Taylor and Borror Drive (called Arena Dr. on google maps), right by the 4-H Center, and this is where we'll carry out our protest.

Campus map + driving directions:

For more information, contact Melanie Yergeau at yergeau or 614-505-6292 (h), 603-674-4896 (c), or visit the ASAN-Central Ohio blog at

Here's the list of complaints against Autism Speaks:

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

** 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.

** 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.”

** After Autism Speaks released its I Am Autism PSA last fall, ASAN held protests across the U.S., in Columbus, Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon, protests that received widespread local press coverage. Additionally, over 60 national and regional disability organizations – including the Arc of the United States, TASH, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law and the National Council on Independent Living – signed a joint letter urging donors to rescind their support for the organization.