Tuesday letters: Autistics don’t need to be ‘cured’

April 22, 2014 

— Throughout April, you may hear about a campaign called “Light It Up Blue for Autism,” which is the creation of Autism Speaks.

Suzanne Wright, a co-founder of Autism Speaks, has compared autistics to kidnapping victims. She claimed that families of autistics “are not living” and are “in despair of the future.” I am living testament that nothing could be further from the truth.

Autism Speaks uses such bleak terms while not including a single autistic person in any leadership role.

Autism Speaks also supports the fringe conspiracy theory that vaccines cause autism. And its search for a “cure” for autism has led it to support a “treatment” that adult autistics have compared to “exgay therapy” and even electro-shock torture.

Because Light It Up Blue is tied so intrinsically to Autism Speaks, when you light it up blue, you are telling autistics that you support these abuses. You are telling autistics that we live a life of despair, that we are not capable of speaking for ourselves and that we deserve to be tortured.

Let us instead proclaim loud and proud that we accept our autistic family, friends, colleagues and neighbors just as they are, and that autistics are not puzzles to be solved, but people to be loved.

Let us “Light It Up Red” with hope and love for autistics.

Jeff Sexton


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