Autism Speaks Loses UK Affiliate
This latest misadventure of Autism Speaks has demonstrated, yet again, arrogance and ineptitude on a truly epic scale. When Autism Speaks finally ends up in the history books (where, less than four years ago, it declared its intent to put the world's entire autistic population), the tale of its demise will be one of hubris befitting a classical Greek tragedy.
To briefly sum up the debacle, before releasing the I Am Autism video in September to widespread condemnation from disability rights groups, Autism Speaks had presented its text as a "poem" at a May meeting with British supporters in London, where it was received with about as much enthusiasm as a heap of decomposing Thames flotsam. After that, having apparently concluded that it didn't matter what the Brits thought and that no propaganda was too extreme for the United States, Autism Speaks went ahead and created the video anyway. Not only did it suffer a major media embarrassment as a result, it also lost an international affiliate, as the UK nonprofit group that had been a branch of Autism Speaks has now formally cut its ties with its former parent organization and has renamed itself Autistica.
Although the newly renamed group seems to be just as interested in genetic research as the old one, it seems to have at least enough sense not to openly advocate eugenics. Its mission statement describes its purpose as follows:
Autistica seeks to use biomedical research to bring benefits to individuals and families affected by autism spectrum disorders.
Autistica is dedicated to raising and investing funds to support high-quality peer reviewed research which focuses on determining the causes and biological basis of autism spectrum disorders; improving diagnosis; and advancing and evaluating new treatments and interventions. We are committed to ensuring that increased understanding and new scientific knowledge will improve the quality of life for all those affected.
Autism is one of the most significant but least researched developmental disorders and Autistica has set itself the task of achieving major breakthroughs within ten years.
Nothing in there about prevention, eradication, prenatal screening, or putting autistic people in the history books. Fancy that.
Labels: Autism Speaks