April 02, 2014

An Open Letter To My Son's School

For privacy reasons, I am not publishing the name of my son's school. However, this is a copy of the letter I sent to his school in response to their "Light It Up Blue" celebration.

The "Light It Up Blue" campaign was started by Autism Speaks - an organization that I unfortunately cannot support as an Autistic adult and self-advocate, as well as mother to an Autistic child. Autism Speaks says they are spreading "awareness" but uses fear-mongering and likens autism to a deadly illness that is "stealing children" and requiring a cure. They consider autism to be a disease and a "public health concern." (Ref: http://www.autismspeaks.ca/events/light-it-up-blue-and-world-autism-awareness-day/)

They do not listen to the voices of autistic people and do not have one autistic representative on their board or openly in their organization. 

As such, I cannot support their work and I cannot sit back quietly while they continue their reign of fear.

I will continue to fight for acceptance - acceptance for all people, regardless of ability, sex, creed or colour. I will continue to fight for acceptance of neurodiversity and the understanding that different is not wrong or less. In fact, if your autism celebrations are done with the intent to promote pride and acceptance of autism, I can only support that. But if they are based on the need for a "cure" for the "devastating curse of autism," as promoted by Autism Speaks, then I am distinctly against it.

I am writing because I want you to be aware of where this campaign stems from and how it can hurt autistic people. After all, we are not disappearing. Autistic children grow into autistic adults.

Because my son is too young to be involved in such politics, I will send him to school in blue so he can look like his friends and enjoy his day, but understand this puts me in an awkward position and is not an ideal situation.

SCHOOL has done an amazing job supporting my son in the short time he has attended. Please do not let the loudest voices, and in this case, the one with the most money, sway you down the wrong path. There are many great associations where autistics are coming together to speak, and hopefully one day we will be truly heard.

Thank you for your consideration.

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