Monday, June 13, 2016

Hey, Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation: I'm Not A Monster

Somehow or other - maybe I signed some petition a long time ago - I got on the mailing list of an organization called the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation (not to be confused with asdfmovie). Every so often, they send me envelopes hoping I'll give them money even though since I'm an autistic person they should be giving me money. In general, I rarely have money to give at the moment since I'm job-hunting right now, but I'd much rather give my hard-earned cash to ASAN or the Autism Women's Network, organizations that I know are looking out for me and people like me.

Today I got a letter from ASDF trying to get me to give them money again, and this one actually made me angry.

Oh, yeah, this is promising. Calling me my parents' worst nightmare. Great way to start this one off.

So already irritated, I opened the envelope...

I'm so dreaded, you guys. I'm a national emergency. I'm a monster, ooooooh.

Here's the deal: yes, families with individuals on the spectrum absolutely need and deserve financial support to help their family members survive in a world that's not designed for them. We all could use some help with that. Services are definitely needed for both autistic children and autistic adults. But worded like this? This makes autism sound like some sort of death sentence. You know what actually could be a death sentence? Not vaccinating your children. Yes, autistic people - myself included! - and their families can use extra financial support since we often require special services to ensure that we can make it in this world that clearly was made for people who aren't autistic. However, scare tactics aren't the best way to accomplish that. My existence is not a tragedy to exploit. Neither are the existences of all of my fellow autistic people. If people were willing to take a few minutes to listen to us, they'd realize we're not that different from them. We generally want the same thing as they do - to be treated decently and respectfully.

So don't be afraid to donate to help families and individuals with autism - both children and adults need services and support! However, any organization that portrays autism as some sort of menace or an epidemic is likely misguided at best and deliberately using scare tactics at worst. (In fact, autism isn't even an epidemic - we've just expanded the diagnostic criteria and understand the signs more. I myself wasn't diagnosed until I was 20.) For organizations that you can support instead knowing that your money will directly help autistic people, check my resources page out here.

Initially, I went to recycle the letter I got since I obviously had no reason to keep the vile thing around. But then I had a better idea...


  1. Good thing you shredded it. Wouldn't want some unsuspecting person digging through the trash and finding that (it'd probably be the trashiest item in the garbage...)
    Thanks for this post. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one who get angry about these things!!!

    1. Right? It definitely didn't belong in the recycling. It wasn't good enough to be reused for anything, let alone even seen again!

      And no problem! I'm always glad to know that other people get angry about this stuff, too. I feel so much more justified in my anger.

  2. The curists always find some way, and with the amount of pull that The-Organization-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named has over uninformed people, they can be scary-effective. It's our job to show the truth.

    1. This is exactly why I write - I want people to see what the truth is and how we're people, not something to be feared. I figured mentioning this smaller organization by name to call them out and making a show of shredding their letter would help somewhat.

  3. My son was diagnosed with autism this March. Autism isn't a death sentence. It's helluva expensive and I live in a red state that provides very little support. He just interacts with the world a little differently that's all. As a parent, I find these types of attitudes abelist and frustrating.