April 20, 2012
By Autism Society
An Autism Society billboard was recently installed in Texas. While feedback has been very positive, some individuals on Facebook have expressed concerns about the word “born.” Please note the intention of the billboard, which was completely funded by an individual donor, was to get a message out to the general public about the rising incidence of autism. The billboard was not meant as a venue to state the Autism Society’s organizational position about the finer points of the cause or course of autism. We provide more detailed information on our website.
The Autism Society is open to engage in discussion with those interested in improving the lives of all affected by autism. We understand that there will always be points we don’t all agree on, but individuals with autism living quality lives is not one of them. Debate is healthy and has always been welcomed at the Autism Society. Our issue with some of the discussion is that, instead of being a constructive discussion about messaging, some have attempted to elicit a campaign against our organization. This type of discussion distracts from the positive intentions of the billboard as well as the important work that should be our shared expectation and focus.
Despite limited resources, the Autism Society is incredibly fortunate to have a national network of chapters, run by volunteers, including parents, individuals with autism, professionals and others in the community willing to give their time and energy to advance our mission. It stems from our deep gratitude to the thousands who have given their time and support over decades that we take issue with those who choose to create controversy and take away from efforts that really impact people’s lives. Energy spent on discussion of word choice will not improve anyone’s life, nor will it bring real training to professionals, address waiting lists or the unavailability of vital services, nor will it generate greater understanding and support from the community. Today, the Autism Society is the nation’s largest grassroots organization committed to helping individuals with autism. We work so individuals can be treated with dignity and have opportunities that maximize their independence and autonomy.
Over the past year or so, the Autism Society has made some very deliberate changes. Our board of directors and advisory panels are comprised of individuals completely dedicated to improving the lives of all affected by autism. This includes people on the spectrum, but also their family members, professionals who work with them, as well as friends and communities. We strongly believe that we must get beyond the belief that only parents can do this, and accept that those who are not living with autism can be just as dedicated. Collectively, our voices and efforts can truly affect change. The national office and Autism Society chapters seek out those who bring wisdom, knowledge, support and the willingness to stand up for, and with, those living with autism every day. The Autism Society is incredibly proud of its chapters and network of volunteers and dedicated professionals around the country. We will continue to focus our energy toward an organization that supports and strengthens their efforts.
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Topics:Living with Autism
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