Here's 5 things you should know.
This card is a few days late, as April started almost a week ago, but it's never too late to spread the love- or information!
1. Vaccines do not cause autism.
This myth was perpetuated by Andrew Wakefield, who published a fraudulent research paper in 1998 claiming that the MMR vaccine caused autism. He manipulated the evidence, had multiple undeclared conflicts of interest, and had broken multiple ethical codes of conduct. His research had absolutely no value and has since been discredited. The CDC confirms this.
Autism is not a deadly disease, unlike measles, mumps, and rubella. The idea that it is preferable to risk a child's death instead of raise a healthy atypical child is frankly appalling.
2. Autism Speaks is not a good organization.
They don't have a single autistic person on their board. Only 3% of their revenues go towards helping autistic people and their families (via), and the majority of the revenue goes towards "causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism" (via). The organization is barely shy of a eugenics movement. There's nothing wrong with research and understanding, but there is absolutely something wrong with trying to eliminate a group of people simply because they're "inconvenient" or "strange". Their goal is to eliminate autistic people, not support them.
If there is an organization you'd like to work with this month, choose The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. Their work empowers autistic people and autistic people contribute to their work at every level. If we truly care about people, we need to listen to them when they voice their needs and concerns.
The video below goes into more detail:
3. Autism is not contagious.
It's actually not a disease at all- autism is a developmental disability. That means that autistic people will often have different sensory experiences and have nonstandard ways of learning and problem solving. Some autistics will have executive functioning issues- the mental skills that help people get things done. Short version: Autistic people think differently from non-autistics. You can read more about what autism is like---> HERE.
4. Autism refers to a wide spectrum of experiences.
And everyone experiences it differently. Not every autistic person is a savant, nor is every autistic person reliant on a carer. Autistic people have a wide variety of experiences and interests just like everyone else.
Notable people with autism: Temple Grandin, Dan Aykroyd, James Durbin, Susan Boyle, and Dan Harmon.
5. Autism is not a tragedy.
The way autistic people are treated is. Autistic people face discrimination and prejudice. They are denied the resources they need, including an education. They are often forced into isolation in their own communities. Prejudice and abuse are always tragedies. Being neuroatypical is not.