Battle Won for Autism Acceptance

Lindt Chocolates Drops Autism Speaks Just in Time for Easter

Sydnee Brashears

Contributing Writer at RYSE
Contributing writer for RYSE with a passion for science, art, and storytelling in any form. Proudly Autistic, not so proudly still passes for the 12 and under discount.

Autism Acceptance Month is a wonderful concept, but the execution needs work thanks to false information and false charities. There is good news for autistic people, however. Lindt Chocolates announced on twitter that they dropped the infamous Autism Speaks.

The Good News

Lindt Chocolates announced on their twitter on March 30th, 2017, that they have decided, “to move in a different direction with our Easter program.”

I asked why they decided to change on several media sources. They did not reply to Twitter or Facebook. When I reached out to their corporate office, I received this response:

“We’d like to thank you for taking the time to contact us. This year, Lindt USA has decided to move in a different direction. We are proud of the collective impact we made to raise awareness and understanding for autism since 2009.”

This does not answer the question. An answer received, nonetheless.

Many in the autistic community believe it was the pushback that led to the decision.  Whatever the reason, it is, according to the autistic community, a step in the right direction.

Why is it good?

Autistic people and their allies have been boycotting AS for years. The movement truly picked up when Autistic Parenting magazine published Autism Speaks’ 2012-2013 financial report. It revealed that only ~4% of their overall fundraising went to Family Services. The bulk of the funding went to the CEOs of the time, and to finding a prevention and/or cure for Autism.

Given that most autistic people don’t want a cure, and that a cure for how the brain is wired is impossible, this money is largely wasted. They found no cure, but several causes. What scientists have found is that there is no one cause. Hundreds of genes go into making up Autism. Hundreds of factors. Not one of them vaccines. Care in the womb, diet, and pollutants are possible. No one knows for sure, however.

And then there’s prevention.Sydnee Brashears | RYSE

Autistic people wish their lives not prevented, for obvious reasons. I personally quite like living, thank you very much.

In more recent reports (2016), Charity Navigator gave AS a financial score of 1 out of 4 stars and overall 2 of 4 stars.

They generated this score based on the 990 forms the charity filed with the IRS.

One of the biggest problems autistic people have with the organization is the influx of false information, as well as dehumanizing and fear-mongering tactics to solicit funds.

The most famous example is AS’ infamous ‘I am Autism’ video, the original uploaded back in 2009. AS removed the video later after backlash, but its sting and influence remain. It accuses autistic people of ruining marriages and being a burden instead of a human being. Comparing it to AIDS or Cancer doesn’t help either.

Autistic and non-autistic individuals have spoken up in defense and offense of AS. Lindt, it seems, has decided to side on the negative. Just in time for Easter, too. At last, I can fill those baskets with nothing but the concern of sugar content to stop me.

The majority seem to agree. You can eat your golden bunnies (or chicks!) in peace now.

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