So it came to pass that I stumbled upon a strange and curious dimension, the Twitterverse. Ash, a gaming streamer, announced that he would become an ambassador for Autism Speaks, in effect donating half of his stream income towards the goal of helping autistic people.
Lo and behold a crowd of people bearing the #actuallyautistic hashtag crowded around him in protest.
“Autism Speaks is a hate group!” said @solestria and thirty-nine people repeated it and four hundred and seventeen people smiled.
“The majority of their funding goes towards researching in utero testing so that they can screen us out before we’re born,” said @AutisticMadeArt but only ten parroted this while a hundred and thirty-six grunted their pleasure at hearing this.
“Autism Speaks gives less than 5% of the money it raises to help existing Autistic people and their families,” said @sorkabeth. This was echoed nineteen times and eighty-six felt better after hearing it.
Was it really true? I surfed the waves of the interdimensional network and summoned Autism Speak’s financial statement. No it was not true.
“Don’t know why people get so hung up on one small part of their finances when they really spend a majority of their budget on Awareness, Advocacy & Family Services,” I said to Ash, not sure if he would be able to hear me, not sure if anyone would. “They were a really bad organisation but they seem to be doing better now.”
“That’s not even the tip of the iceberg when you’re discussing what’s wrong with Autism Speaks,” @artfulretro said to me. Three others liked what she said.
Woo! Someone spoke to me! I wasn’t sure anyone would even care about what I had to say. But I guess this is how the Twitterverse works. By some strange logic, anyone can say something and be heard, even amongst the din of what must have been a thousand voices.
“I actually agree with you that they did some horrible things in the past,” I said to @artfulretro. “But looking at their youtube channel and website show that they are all about autism acceptance and neurodiversity nowadays. In your view, what else must they do to show that they have changed?”
“have you seen this?” @artfulretro replied, and conjured up a video from the Youtube dimension.
I watched the video, hoping for an answer to my question: “What must Autism Speaks do to show that they have changed?” But the video showed a woman, DizzyDollie7, trying to contact Autism Speaks but getting sent to voicemail. In the video, DizzyDollie7 did not state when she tried to contact Autism Speaks and might have been trying to call them outside of their operating hours, which would have explained why she kept on getting sent to voicemail. There were also other problems like the voicemail being too short to record anything substantial and there was a glitch which caused the audio to freak out which could have been due to either the hotline or her phone. But what did any of this have to do with my question?
In her channel I found the second part of the video.
In this video, she manages to get in touch with someone who she says was very helpful. This still had nothing to do with my question so I found the third part of this video.
In this follow up video she talks about Autism Speaks sending her spam. She also says that they were supposed to call her back but there was no evidence of that in the previous video. Maybe it was in the email that she received but she didn’t show that so I don’t know. As for the spam, usually there is a link in the email to unsubscribe. Was the link missing or did she not know?
And I still did not know why @artfulretro had showed me the first video.
“Are you saying that to show you that they have changed, they need to design a sensory friendly hotline, hire more hotline operators and have option to opt out of email promotions?” I asked @artfulretro.
“They don’t support autistic adults,” @artfulretro replied. “Have you watched videos of Autistic people on youtube in regards to this topic?” And three people found comfort in her question to me.
Searching for “what can autism speaks do to show they have changed?” on Youtube produced zero relevant results. Perhaps she meant the topic of contacting Autism Speaks? In which case, yes I have. And by the sacred art of Googlefu, I found her first statement to be incorrect as well.
“The second part of the video you linked to me is them helping her with her query,” I replied. “Their resource guide has lots of links to resources for adults 22+. What do you think they need to do more in order to support autistic adults?”
@artfulretro remained silent for a day. But something else happened. @MissyGospelAF walked right up to the both of us and said, “They could listen to people with autism. Stop researching ways to eradicate it. Have autistic people on their board/as ambassadors. Stop advocating CBT & other abusive “therapy”. Stop wanting to cure it or “find solutions” (just another way to say cure, but claim they’ve changed).”
Again I surfed the interdimensional network to find that Autism Speaks has done most of what she said they had to do.
https://www.autismspeaks.org/record,” I said to her. “But it sounds like you are already aware of that page and you don’t believe them. So what exactly do they need to do to convince you that they have changed? As for CBT, what would you replace it with?”
“What would I replace cbt with?” she asked me rhetorically. “I wouldn’t. Its abuse, plain and simple. I’d try empathy, compassion and understanding. Same way you’d treat anyone else. As the whole, flawless as is, wonderful person that they are. Not like something that needs to be fixed or treated.”
But she was not done. She continued, “To convince me they’ve changed? They’d probably have to not be autism speaks. Plenty of deserving others that could use support and have been decent all along. Plenty that don’t have such an awful history.” @artfulretro reiterated her point.
A great serpent materialised out of thin air, its scales the colour of the rainbow. Its multicoloured forked tongue tasted the air and it turned to look at @autismspeaks. It coiled, ready to strike, a predator hunting its prey.
“They can be doing all the things you wanted them to do in your previous tweet, they can be actually helping autistic people, but you will still tell people not to support them?” I cried out. The serpent was a manifestation of the hatred that @artfulretro and @MissyGospelAF had for @autismspeaks. If only I could get them to realise that their hatred was blinding them to the good that @autismspeaks are doing now…
I don’t know if @MissyGospelAF is autistic or not but @artfulretro bore the #actuallyautistic hashtag. And so, if @autismspeaks is helping autistics now, then @artfulretro is hurting herself every time she attacks @autismspeaks.
One person liked what I said. Due to the strange laws that govern the Twitterverse, I will never know who it is. I go into an infinite spiral of loading whenever I try to divine their handle. As for @artfulretro and @MissyGospelAF, only time will tell if my words had any effect on them.