All day I think about it, then at night I say it. Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing? I have no idea. My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that. And I intend to end up there...Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking. If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison...I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

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11 October 2010

2010 ASAN - OHIO Protest Against Autism Speaks

ASAN - OHIO had a successful protest against Autism Speaks in Columbus, Ohio at Ohio State University. The four-hour protest attracted media attention, in addition to independent reporters. Protesters raised the same points as other ASAN chapters:
  • Autism Speaks funnels only 4% percent of solicited monies back toward the families and communities it drains.
  • Autism Speaks fails to include autistic people--other than in token ways--in their decision-making.
  • Autism Speaks puts monies toward eugenics.
Autism Speaks' walkers addressed ASAN - OHIO protesters with:
  • "Autism Speaks can't have autistic leaders or board members because autistic people are incapable of making important decisions."
  • "Are you all stupid? You're all stupid!"
  • "Go home! You suck!"
  • "You're a bunch of idiots!"
  • "How do you sleep at night?"
ASAN - OHIO responded with slogans such as, "Nothing About Us Without Us!" "Autism Speaks needs to listen!" and "2, 4, 6, 8, Autism Speaks discriminates!"

State Representative, Ted Celeste, stopped by to listen to, as well as applaud ASAN - OHIO for their message. "You're all heroes," he commented. 

Benzion, an autistic person in support of ASAN - OHIO, said, "Autism Speaks is focusing on curing autism...not being able to live with, not integrating autistics. Two years ago, I very naively came to Autism Speaks to walk for autism, until I learned I was a disease that needed to be cured."

To view footage of ASAN - OHIO's protest, click here. To view their blog, click here. To view the ABC news report, click here.


  1. Seems to me like the walkers making comments like that are the ones with the real empathy deficit...

  2. Woooooooooooooo!!!!!!! Good job, ASAN Ohio!

  3. Thanks, Codeman38 and Catatab T!

  4. Way to go, guys! I always felt uncomfortable with Autism Speaks and now I have specific reason to do so. The kinds of things people yelled at the protesters are just plain disturbing, not to mention telling. Thanks for sharing this, Elesia.

  5. Glad to have you as a reader, Roia! :)

  6. Congratulations for the successful protest!

  7. I found out a couple of months ago that the new natural foods/produce store in town, Sprouts Farmer's Market, is a "proud sponsor" of Autism Speaks. I've sent them two messages on their feedback page explaining politely why this is not a good thing; donating to Autism Speaks does NOT help autistic children and instead helps spread offensive stereotypes. I have received no response, not even a form letter.

    Since I am a member of several ASD groups here, I've mentioned this at meetings to see if I could organize a boycott. Much to my dismay, my peers' response was "Sprouts? Never heard of the place. Why should I care if they're donating to Autism Speaks, even though I agree that this group is no good?" Well, if I were good at inspiring people, I wouldn't need to go to ASD self-help groups, would I?

    What would be a good approach to boycotting, picketing, or otherwise protesting Sprouts' support of Autism Speaks?

  8. Hello Anonymous,

    I am familiar with Sprouts, as I also shop at natural/organic food markets. That is too bad that your emails have been ignored. Have you tried sending a letter to their corporate address? Sometimes, going above your local store can produce results.

    Thanks for visiting Aspitude!

  9. @ Anonymous,

    One more idea would be to write to ASAN and ask for help in crafting a letter to the owners of the Sprouts store to request a meeting to make your case. After that, if Sprouts refuses a meeting--or refuses your case after a meeting--you'll be better situated for a picket or a protest.

    (p.s.--I love Sprouts. And, honestly, I think they are trying to be involved in the community in what they feel is a positive way. After all, how could an autism-focused charity not be positive? A lot of people do not understand this side of organizations that serve the disability community--or claim to serve them. If you have formal info/handouts to share with Sprouts, they might be more willing to listen.)

  10. The comments that you great received from those Auti$m $peaks hypocrites would make great bad publicity for their corrupted organization :D

    Great job my fellow Aspies and may no one ever tell you that you need to be cured for being different !