GRASP publishes a letter from nine-year Autism Speaks volunteer Michele Montanez to new president Liz Feld on why it is important that the organization stop using the word "cure":
For many years, autistics themselves have been fighting to be heard. Their voices are getting louder and louder. We purport to speak for autistics as well as the parents that form our backbone. The vast majority of them, the ones that advocate for true acceptance in our world of autistics as they are instead of as close to neurotypical as we can therapy them into, are emphatically opposed to the word cure. We promote advocacy and acceptance, and yet when the very people we promote advocacy and acceptance define what that means for themselves, we continually ignore it. Ironic for an organization who’s tag line is “Autism Speaks. It’s time to listen.” We are not listening to the group who matters most in our mission. Our attempts to get autistic self advocates to the table to work with us, instead of vilifying us, will never work as long as we continue to overtly, persistently, and knowingly continue to be offensive.
Thanks to Michele for referencing this piece I wrote about why it bothers me that Autism Speaks-branded school supplies being sold at Walmart carry this message: "6% of the net proceeds will be donated to Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for Autism."
Thanks to Amy Sequenzia for pointing out to me that she did.