Autism Speaks’ New Decade for Autism

Autism Speaks posted this photo (of Tony Bennett and autism grandparents Suzanne and Bob Wright) to accompany its report on its “New Decade For Autism: Changing the Future Together.” 

By the evidence of that photograph, and in the accompanying text, this “new decade for autism” is going to be minus autistic people.


Suzanne Wright closed the evening with a message of hope: “We are walking toward a future of hope, a future of promise, and a future when autism is not a daily struggle for millions of families but a word for the history books.” 


The fundraiser was accounted ”a huge success, raising over $2 million to benefit children with autism”–not autistic adults.

Apparently, Autism Speaks thinks that they are not part of the “future of hope.”

Mrs. Wright, and Mr. Wright, the future is already here. Autistic children grow up to become autistic adults, just as my lovely son Charlie is growing up. Before I know it, he will be an autistic teenager. Charlie is the future–a future with autism–a future you, Mr. and Mrs. Wright need to open up your eyes, and your organization, to.


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    • Phil Schwarz

      I’ve been to three Autism Society of America conferences, but I’ve never gone to the black-tie awards dinner they have each year, the “Dinner of Champions”.

      According to Valerie Paradiz, Kassiane Sibley, and some other friends of mine who *did* go to the “Dinner of Champions” at the 2004 conference, David Holmes of Eden Services (and at that time, also either the board of directors or the scientific advisory board of ASA, I don’t remember which) gave an opening benediction in which he prayed for the eradication of autism.

      That must have gone over really well with the folks at Val and Kassi’s table, all of whom were folks on the spectrum or allies.

      As I said to Val when she described the scene to me, the phrase that popped into my head was “eine kleine Vernichtung”. A small-scale “Vernichtung”.

      “Vernichtung”, literally making-into-nothing, is the German term for the Nazi holocaust. The Nazis’ goal was to eradicate the subcultures within the society that they found undesireable — to relegate their remains to museums and history books. The Nazis planned to build a museum of the soon-to-be-extinct Jewish people and culture; I don’t know what plans they had in store for the Roma (“Gypsy”) people, the disabled people, and the gay people they were exterminating.

      Allusions to the Nazi holocaust, almost seventy years hence, are often overblown and inappropriate. But this particular association is specific and precise; it has to do with the specific notion of eradicating a way of being that those in power do not want to acknowledge the legitimacy of, and relegating its memory to the history books. Just as David Holmes and Suzanne Wright said.

    • Dookia

      Sheez, Bob and Suzanne Wright are soooo ugly in that pic. Suzanne’s eyebrows scare me. Bob is fat and bald with a double chin. *covers eyes*

      But, to get more serious, well, I think this “decade for autism” sounds kind of frightening from what I’ve heard. I also think the Autism Speaks logo looks like a huge blue pile of crap in that one photo of Suzanne and Hillary Clinton standing in front of it ( ). Makes me want to pull out the huge pooper scooper and scoop it right up, maybe have my ferrets and cats love on it for a bit until it causes the floor to reek, and then…scoop bits and pieces of it into the toilet all while holding a funeral for the misused big cuddly blue thing…!

    • Jordan

      Hey Puzzle Peds!!!!!

      1, 2 Annie’s coming for you
      3, 4 Not enough time to lock all your doors
      5, 6 This is something you can’t fix
      7,8 For dear life, you better stay awake

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