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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Excerpt from Lydia Brown.

A must read by Lydia Brown. On April 18, 2012, I wrote about a statement I pushed for Autism Speaks to issue denouncing the center. To read that they are now de facto endorsing the center, in addition to Suzanne Wright's "call to action," is disgraceful and completely unacceptable. What happens at the center in the name of treatment is nothing less than torture. And to call autistic individuals MISSING is an abomination. --Kim Wombles.


An Unholy Alliance: Autism Speaks and the Judge Rotenberg Center

Trigger warning/content: Ableism, violence, murder, torture, abuse of disabled people, electric shock, aversives. 

An Unholy Alliance:
Autism Speaks and the Judge Rotenberg Center

Lydia Brown

Autistic and disabled activists, as well as our allies, have for years criticized Autism Speaks' long history of dehumanizing rhetoric about autistic people, irresponsible financial practices, and unconscionable claim to represent autistic people without including any autistic people in their leadershi— in direct contradiction to the principles of the disability rights movement. I have written numerous times on the myriad of reasons why autistic people, writ large, not only decline to support Autism Speaks but also actively condemn their goals and practices. 

Given Autism Speaks' history of damaging PSAs that exploit autistic people and our families, as well as their continual refusal to meaningfully include autistic people throughout their leadership and decision-making process, I am rarely shocked when new information arises about their projects and programs. I was not shocked at their latest PSA, an over twenty-minute-long mini documentary ostensibly about non-speaking autistic people who type to communicate, but which in reality faced sharp criticism from high-profile non-speaking autistic Amy Sequenzia, who types herself. I was not shocked at their announcement of a policy summit in Washington DC this week that will in all likelihood ignore the concerns of real autistic people about education, employment, housing, healthcare, or community living. I was not shocked (though I was deeply saddened) to read founder Suzanne Wright's message yesterday in advance of that policy summit, which once again resorted to fear-mongering language like epidemic and national health crisis, to objectify autistic people as burdens on their families or tragedies for society.

But I was shocked and profoundly disturbed by the revelation that at Autism Speaks' Walk Now for Autism in Washington DC, the city where I live, they chose to host and feature the Judge Rotenberg Center as one of their exhibitors at a resource fair.

Let me reiterate that one more time in case the prior sentence was not sufficient to jar your conscience:

Autism Speaks featured the Judge Rotenberg Center as a resource for autistic people and their families. 

2 comments:

Full Spectrum Mama said...

(For those readers who don't know what you mean [I am embarrassed to say I did not] there is a TON of online information about this place...)
What a disastrophe.

Jen Bradshaw said...

Thank you for all the information on your website. I have been teaching for 15 years, but I am on a new journey. :) I will be doing in-home training for families of Autism. I have been doing tons of research. I have even started my own blog...talking about my journey and sharing as many free resources with parents as possible.

Thanks again.
Jen Bradshaw
appletreelearning.blogspot.com

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