Whose Planet Is It Anyway?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Money Speaks

No, this post isn't about the salaries of Autism Speaks' executives, although that interesting detail does seem to get mentioned a lot. Rather, it's about the online discussion of why autistic people don't like Autism Speaks, which—after more than three years—finally drew a response from Alison Singer on just what she was thinking when she made that infamous statement about driving off the George Washington Bridge with her autistic daughter Jodie in the car:

From the Autism Science Foundation blog:

The point I was trying to make in the film was that the lack of appropriate services and the thought of putting her in a terrible school made me want to drive off the bridge; not that Jodie did…

…After Jodie and I had visited several schools that day I remember I pulled the car over to the side of the road and just cried. There was just no way that I was ever going to let her be in a terrible school like that. I was overwhelmed and shocked because I thought these were our only options.

Assuming for the sake of argument that her explanation was sincere and that she genuinely was distraught about the lack of adequate schools, I'd say that she chose a very unproductive way of addressing that concern. Whatever one may think about the likelihood of a prenatal test or other eugenic nastiness resulting from the genetic research funded by Autism Speaks and ASF, it's indisputable that these genetic studies do nothing whatsoever to combat the social barriers faced by today's autistic citizens and our families. They will not improve educational opportunities for Jodie—or any other child like her—one iota. They are counterproductive because they soak up funds that might otherwise be put toward improving education and services.

Earlier this year, ASAN issued a statement calling on organizations that fund autism research, such as Autism Speaks and ASF, to show their commitment to improving the lives of autistic people by shifting their research funds away from genetic studies and toward projects that yield practical benefits. In short, these organizations are being asked to put their money where their mouth is, rather than just vaguely claiming that they are somehow advancing our futures. When it comes to judging their intentions, money speaks a lot louder than words.

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  • If Singer was truly sincere, she would tell Autism Speaks to yank the video out of circulation because they are misrepresenting her. Let's see if THAT ever happens.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:21 PM  

  • I just looked at the link, and two known enemies who I won't name here have shown up. I'm going to try and contact Marc Rosen and see if he can't get their comments removed.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:31 PM  

  • Nah, Marc isn't going to remove them, as he knows that their assholity speaks for itself. It really does!

    Surprising that JB won't answer Jake about what happened to his teeth.

    By Blogger Clay, at 8:00 PM  

  • I saw that film a while back when my boys were still quite little. I was horrified by the message it sent. I remember thinking-holy crap, is this how the world is going to see my kids?
    Because really, the intention of that film wasn't to raise awareness about people with autism,it was a one sided,negative portrayal about "how horrible" it is parenting people with autism. The intention was to manipulate the heartstrings of the public.."look at these awful children..poor poor parents...these kids-this autism must be stopped" As far as P.R. and raising money goes...mission accomplished.
    Alison Singer absolutely KNEW what the impact of her words would have. She had to. It is not like the film was a suprise..it was edited to suit their purposes. I can say with great sincerity that I hope that her children never see it.
    Education and services...how I long to see the day when they are readily available. It shouldn't have to be a struggle to get them.

    By Blogger kathleen, at 9:55 PM  

  • The point I was trying to make in the film was that the lack of appropriate services and the thought of putting her in a terrible school made me want to drive off the bridge; not that Jodie did…

    I believe that Ms. Singer might now sincerely believe this.

    I also believe that human beings have an incredible capacity to rationalize our own despicable behavior, and to internalize that rationalization.


    By Blogger Club 166, at 11:47 PM  

  • Probably true, Joe, but it still doesn't equate with the way Autism Speaks is promoting it. My opening comment still stands under such circumstances.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:51 AM  

  • Clay, I think I gave an answer for where the teeth went on the HARB (my blog on him) if you'll look.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:52 AM  

  • I just can't understand how Alison Singer can act as though her comment were made under duress. She had time to realize how hurtful it was. This was not a live television broadcast-- it is a carefully crafted piece of propaganda. She had time to realize that what she said could kill people, but just let it go because she cares only about gaining sympathy for herself.

    I have written and let her know that her comments made me feel suicidal, something she has chosen to ignore. She and the entire Autism Speaks crowd hate us. That's their real stance.

    By Blogger Landon Bryce, at 9:57 PM  

  • Like hell I'll believe what that malicious, murderously-minded woman says. That BS that she calls a good excuse for openly saying that she was considering murder of her own child, but not doing it simply because of her other child, simply because the former was autistic and the latter was "normal" may convince her own sick, twisted mind, but it won't convince mine. I've spent 5920 days as an autistic person on this dumbass prejudiced planet, with most of it being told that my personality is a defect and that it would be compassionate to murder someone with my neurotype, either before birth or after it. Nuh-uh. I'm not going to take that BS passively lying down. Not from my peers, not from my teachers, and not from prejudiced excuses for human beings like Alison Tepper Singer.

    By Anonymous Sadderbutwisergirl, at 2:38 PM  

  • SBWG, what you said is the reason why I do what I do - and not wanting to appear to play "I'm worse off than you" it's been 16192days for me. I know to some it's not popular or desired (I know you've said that yourself), but I do the things I do and say the things I say out of self defence.

    Your anger is completely justified, as I reflected in a way in the first comment.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:15 PM  

  • To be honest I believe Singer because that was my orginal thought after seeing the video.

    However her execution of her anger at the shitty school system was rather poor.

    By Blogger Bard, at 2:07 PM  

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