In the midst of all the anger towards Autism Speaks, I’d like to give a shout-out to Autism Works:
The problem with Autism Speaks is that it focuses not on helping people with autism, but on preventing more people with autism from being born. Their argument is that there’s a huge number of autistics in the world, and it’ll be a disaster if they have to be supported for the rest of their lives.
But there are at least two flaws with that. Firstly, their eugenic plan to prevent more autistics from existing is doing nothing at all to help the autistics (and their families) who are trying to get by in the world today.
And secondly– if your count of “the huge number of autistics” includes everyone with a diagnosis of any autism spectrum disorder, then most of that number is comprised of people who could be greatly productive and successful in the right workplace! To avoid the problem of their unemployment, you don’t need to prevent their existence, for goodness’ sake. You just have to find them good jobs.
Autism Works is the organization that is actually helping with that. They have a very effective, very innovative approach that matches autism-spectrum individuals with jobs that they can do well. They’re currently working with my husband John, and I’m impressed with how accepting, helpful and open-minded they are, and how well-thought-out their system is.
And, among all the autistic people they find jobs for, there are many who get jobs working for Autism Works itself. This organization knows that to help people on the autism spectrum, it’s best to have some viewpoints from the autism spectrum on your side.
So, if the “autism epidemic” turns into a golden age of technological and creative development in our society, they will be partly to thank for it! Go Autism Works!