Some autism parents are clearly “against” Autism Speaks. They think raising awareness isn’t enough. They think their executive directors make too much money. They think they diminish the people they claim to help with their language. And they think Autism Speaks should do more to help individual families.
The thing is, Autism Speaks has raised awareness at a national level, much more than a local group could hope to do. And because they take in and disburse so much money, their executives make a hefty salary, but not more than similarly structured nonprofits. And they have funded an incredible amount of research. I do agree that they should drop the word “epidemic”, but I am not going to advise others that they should stop supporting the group entirely.
I have no problem lighting it up blue. I do have a problem with people making others feel bad about supporting the group. If you expect a national group to provide services at a local level, you are expecting a lot. There are lots of local groups that do provide services to families, and you can support this great diversity of nonprofits that help on all levels. You don’t have to pick a side.
Happy National Autism Awareness Day!