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Friday, April 4, 2014

Authoring Awareness: Why Not Autism Speaks?

Autism Speaks "Light It Up Blue", has become a familiar campaign that many people are aware of.  For several years, we supported the campaign and the organization behind it.  Soon, I began noticing things that didn't sit well with me.  I no longer support them or donate to them.  The money is pouring in, the shout for a cure has been heard, and the awareness is there.  What's missing is a personal interest in improving the lives of those on the spectrum by asking for more than awareness and a cure. 

Not all children and adults on the spectrum need or want a cure.  Some just want to be understood and have the same opportunities as the rest of us.  With blue being the color of awareness, we've decided to embrace "lighting it up" more than blue.  Awareness isn't always enough.  Acceptance and understanding are needed too.  So is an organization that works to empower and support those on the spectrum so that they are seen as equals and worthy of the same rights that the rest of us are.  The Autistic Self Advocacy Network and other organizations that share their vision just seem to have more to offer those on the spectrum than Autism Speaks does.

I am not going to tell you that this decision is the only right one, because I firmly believe that everyone needs to do their own research and make their own decisions.  Part of being aware, is being aware of what you are being asked to be aware of!  For me, this organization makes more sense for the cause at hand.  I like where they are going with their campaigns and what they are working towards.

 From The ASAN Website:

"The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for Autistic people. ASAN’s supporters include Autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators and friends. ASAN was created to provide support and services to individuals on the autism spectrum while working to educate communities and improve public perceptions of autism. Our activities include public policy advocacy, community engagement to encourage inclusion and respect for neurodiversity, quality of life oriented research, and the development of Autistic cultural activities. We provide information about autism to the public through a number of different educational, outreach and systems change related projects."

The link below will take you to a joint letter that addresses why this organization and others are calling for an end to the Autism Speaks support.  I think it will explain things better than I ever could. 

 2014 Joint Letter to the Sponsors of Autism Speaks


There are so many wonderful organizations out there, be aware of them all!  Find one that truly speaks for those on the spectrum, not just one that everyone is aware of because of a campaign.


   1)  Accept
            2)  Understand
       3)  Educate 
4)  Love

Let's "light it up" more than blue! 
I want to light up every color of the rainbow that is Autism Spectrum Disorders! 

Let's do more than be "aware" of Autism this April.  

Throughout the month of April, I'll be Authoring Awareness in order to promote acceptance, understanding, and love. 



Won't you join me and share this with others?


Other Authoring Awareness Posts:

1:  Authoring Awareness: April & Autism
2:  Authoring Awareness: What's Up With That Bratty Kid?

This post ends Week 1 of "Authoring Awareness", but I'll be back next week to blog about some writer-ly things, and I'll continue this series and share some amazing resources for those living at the end of the ASD Rainbow.  See you then!  And remember, awareness is only the beginning! 

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