Very good post, with which I agree wholeheartedly. But how do you feel about autism/Asperger's charities? I have received a number of requests to support Asperger's charities, and I'm not sure how to react. None of the Asperger's/autistics I know would consider themselves charity cases, and I'm not sure how a charity could help anyway. What's your opinion? Genuinely curious.
Well, here’s the thing: The necessity of a charity for autism depends, I think, on where that charity is located and what it’s trying to do.
In the US, where social support structures are absolute crap, charities are often an unfortunate necessity. They are an opportunity to raise money, support and awareness so that autistics of all ages can get what they need out of society to make life more comfortable.
That’s part of what makes Autism $peaks such a crappy charity. It focuses on things like cures, which have very little relevance to the daily life of any autistic. When I see cases where, for example, a mother kills her autistic child because she can’t afford the special schooling he needs, I hold Autism $peaks doubly responsible. Their fearmongering and misinformation is bad enough, but as a charity, this is what they should be doing: Giving support so things like that don’t happen, and raising awareness of why society should change so there’s more support built into it.
They’re such a big charity that their Light it up Blue campaign is worldwide, and yet, why don’t they have funding programs to help autistic people get the kind of education, health and career help they need? Why don’t they run ads and make videos about how social security and universal healthcare are necessary infrastructure to help autistics (and all people) live happier, healthier lives? They could do that, and a good charity would do such things.
I guess what I’m saying is, having a charity for something doesn’t necessarily make that something a “charity case.” Rather, it can potentially be a force for change in the world, doing its part to help make the world a less harsh, inflexible place for autistics, and showing others why they should do the same. Such charities would definitely be worthwhile, and I can’t imagine most of us would be offended by them.