To be honest, I’ve always viewed Autism Speaks in a negative light, an organization that seeks mostly to cure autism and rarely to embrace the strengths and uniqueness characteristic of all individuals on the spectrum.
I decided to pose this question on google.com — I know what you are thinking: some “real”, high-quality research I performed (sarcasm). Despite my rudimentary research, I found this very question posed on a favorite site of mine: Wrong Planet. On this site, I found some very interest opinions.
“Autism Speaks is almost entirely bad. Even the PSAs paint autism as a horrible thing, something that we have to get rid of and squash out, something that breaks up families, turns children into unresponsive automatons, costs money, and ruins lives. They are overdramatic, and in the name of raising awareness they make people believe that a life with autism is hopeless, joyless, and a burden to everyone around you,” says Callista.
Further, DandelionFireworks believes, “Autism Speaks is in it for the money.
Honest curebies make me laugh, but they at least have ideals that they cling to. They often truly want what’s best for their children. I’ve seen that firsthand, and I’ve seen the good that curebies can do. Autism Speaks, however, doesn’t care about our welfare. They just want our money.”
I could fill countless pages with not-so-flattering commentary about Autism Speaks. On the other hand, I did manage to find this:
“Autism Speaks funds the research study I’m in at the U of Pitt,” wrote SuperTrouper. “They’re using Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (attention, memory, and problem solving training on the computer plus small groups to improve social cognition) to help adults with autism. One of the researchers told me that they do not seek to cure us but to make our lives easier. I don’t think they’ll rewire our brains in an 18-month study, but they’re certainly not harming us and it just might do some good. Right now the study has 14 people as the pilot, but soon it will have I think 60, and that’s the part the Autism Speaks is funding. Just making a point that things aren’t really so black and white, and as such, this organization is not all bad.”
My overall impression is that parents, newly diagnosed or not, are highly supportive of Autism Speaks. Auties and aspies seem less excited about the possibility of losing (read “curing”) what defines them as a human being. I’m not sure if I can make an appropriate comparison that NTs will understand and auties and Aspies will respect. So, perhaps you can?