Why Autism Speaks Does Not Deserve Your Support

Why Autism Speaks Does Not Deserve Your Support

The renowned organization does more harm than good.
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April is Autism Awareness Month, which means that it’s more important than ever to be aware of the means with which we can help the autistic community gain visibility, acceptance and support. One way we can do this is participating in charitable initiatives and volunteering our time in the community. One way we should not do this is by supporting the popular charity, Autism Speaks.

Despite contributing the puzzle piece symbol that is practically synonymous with causes for autism, Autism Speaks is an extremely harmful charity when it comes to advocating for autism and autistic people.

One of the main principles of the disability movement is “Nothing About Us Without Us,” yet Autism Speaks has no autistic people on their board or in their leadership.

The only person high enough in a leadership role was John Elder Robison, the author of “Look Me In The Eyes: My Life With Asperger’s,” who quit in 2013. Autism Speaks claims in their mission statement to “[fund] global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a possible cure for autism.” But how can an organization hope to achieve this with no input from the very group of people they claim to represent?

In addition, the concept of curing autism is a very dangerous one. Autism is a developmental disability and the search for cures usually involves abusive ABA therapy and erroneous anti-vaccination movements, both of which Autism Speaks have supported.

Autism Speaks’ mission statement goes on to claim that they will “find the missing pieces of the puzzle,” showing that “they don’t really value autistic people as fully human people. We are puzzles and we are missing pieces of ourselves, and we must become neurotypical in order to be respected by this group.”

With this mentality, Autism Speaks is also infamous for supporting the parents and families of autistic children, but never the children themselves. In one of a few harmful media pieces released by Autism Speaks, the short film “Autism Everyday” details the struggles of parents who have to raise an autistic child. Most of the video is focused on the things the parents had to surrender in order to take care of their child and how difficult their lives are, with almost no regard for how their children feel. The most disturbing part of this film is when one of the mothers claims that her non-autistic child is the only thing keeping her from driving her and her autistic daughter off the George Washington Bridge.

This disregard for the group of people they are actually advocating for also became noticeable when they blocked the inclusion of the Schakowsky Amendment, which calls for the inclusion of autistic people in autism support and advocacy groups, among other movements that promote diversity and inclusivity. Autism Speaks also brings in around $70,000,000 a year, of which only 3 percent goes back to families and autistic people.

Autism Speaks is a harmful and dangerous organization that does not positively affect the autistic community. If you are interested in providing support for the autistic community, organizations such as the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and the Autism Women’s Network are better charities to turn your efforts to.

For more details on the harm Autism Speaks inflicts, click here.

Cover Image Credit: lohudblogs.com

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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Tanya Gold, Your Fatphobic Article Is Uneducated And Arrogant

BREAKING NEWS: Women come in all different shapes and sizes!

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Just recently, Nike released a plus-size mannequin at one of their stores in London that showed off their plus-size leggings and sports bra. And, because we live in a world where being fat or overweight or obese is somehow the worst thing in the world to some people, this has sparked a lot of discussion.

Tanya Gold wrote an article for The Telegraph saying that this mannequin “cannot run" and is “likely pre-diabetic" and “on her way to a hip-replacement." Not only is Tanya's article uneducated and poorly written, it's completely fatphobic and embarrassing.

What I would like to know is this: why can't plus-size women work out in Nike clothes just like a size 2 woman? People want to scream from the rooftops that plus-size women are fat because they don't exercise and when companies FINALLY start catering to plus-size women with clothes they can EXERCISE IN, people lose their minds and think that they're promoting obesity.

What are plus sized women supposed to work out in if they can't even wear Nike leggings without being fat-shamed?

Would you rather them wear jeans? Overalls? A parka, maybe? What about a garbage bag?

Let's also discuss the fact that being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy, just like being at a “normal" weight doesn't make you healthy. Did you ever stop to think that some women have diseases that make them gain weight that they, in return, can't lose? Some women can eat salad for every single meal, seven days a week and they still can't lose weight.

Let's all say this together: SIZE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH FITNESS. Being thin doesn't equal being healthy and being overweight doesn't equal being unhealthy.

Everyone (and yes, I mean EVERYONE) should be able to be comfortable in their own skin AND in their clothes.

You can't sit and pout saying that fat people don't care about their health and then when they want comfortable clothes to wear while they're EXERCISING, hell has frozen over and how dare Nike cater to people who aren't a size 2.

Tanya, be honest with yourself. You aren't anywhere near a size 2, either, so where is all of this coming from? Are you self-loathing? Do you have some kind of internal fatphobia?

Pick a side, Tanya. You can't hate people who are overweight because you think that they aren't exercising and then when they do exercise and they get clothes that cater to them, it's all of the sudden wrong and horrible.

We are damned if we do, damned if we don't. As if women (and men) weren't already being shamed enough for being plus size, we're now being made to feel bad because a brand caters to our size so we can wear the same clothes all of the other sizes can wear.

Thank you, Nike, for making your brand more inclusive for all shapes and sizes so we can ALL feel confident in our clothes.

I think it's worth mentioning that Nike released their plus-size line in 2017 AKA 2 years ago... Why weren't you mad then?

Oh, and, Tanya Gold, you might want to stop smoking since you're all about being healthy, right? You don't want to get lung cancer or anything, do you?

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