Autism Speaks

A critique of Autism Speaks.


*Trigger warning Mental Illness, Death, and Abortion


Illustration by Claire Laitinen (Graphic Designer, The Continuist) IG: @clairelaitinen


By Aodhán Campbell (IG: @aodhan.soup)

Content Creator (Poetry), The Continuist


Autism Speaks likes to talk about Autism,

But let’s talk about Autism Speaks.

They are the world’s leading Autism charity.

For clarity, I use the term ‘charity’ very, very loosely.

Autism Speaks spends a hundred and fifty times more

Researching a cure to eradicate autism

Than they do on hate alleviation.

Their board of executives,

A conglomeration of major corporations.

On the plus side, I’ve never had to wonder

What me or the autistic community is worth.

I know by heart that it’s zero point one six percent

Of their funding.


While we’re on Autism Speaks,

What are their goals?

What do they seek?

They want to end autism,

What does that mean?

It means treating it like a burden,

A disease.

It means developing a pre-natal test

To weed out people like me

And encouraging expecting mothers

To abort autistic babies,

Getting rid of us

Like animals afflicted with rabies.

There’s no excuse for this hate,

No excuse for the bated breath

With which I have to wait

For the next horrific thing they’ll do

Or say.


There were so, so many to choose from,

But here are a couple of quotations.


“Autism will plot to rob you of your children and your dreams.”

“If you are happily married, Autism will make sure that your marriage fails."

“Autism works faster than pediatric AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined.”

“Autism will make sure that every day you wake up you will cry”

“Many parents must mourn the loss of some of the hopes and dreams they had for their child before they can move on.”


That last one aired on Sesame Street.


They really said “mourn the loss”, it’s surreal.

Can you imagine how shitty that must feel?

Like a goddamn funeral

For the son my mum should've had.

News outlets called it “controversial”.

Ain’t that the fucking truth?


So don’t support Autism Speaks.

Remember the stigma,

Remember the bullshit,

Remember the part they play in all of it.

Remember everything

Underscored by this outpour.

Abhor them.

And what’s more,

If you want to hear Autism’s voice,

Then give people with autism

The motherfucking floor.