This was an interesting movement that I saw that I was a little skeptical of. Ultimately changed my view of Autism Speaks but most importantly my view on autism treatment to get me “unstuck.” Thanks to Leah Kelley for pointing out.
I frequently have used their resources to give to families that I work with. I still am a fan of their Toolkits. There are several concerns about Autism Speaks that they point out. First is the fact that there are no autistic persons or parents on the board or in leadership. The organization is also ranked very poorly in the ratio that they give versus what they use for salaries. Find out more information at http://boycottautismspeaks.com/home.html
The most notable criticism helped me think differently about assessment and treatment of autism. It appears that there is a lot of language focusing on fixing deficits and “finding a cure.” I have previously blogged about the challenges of case management services for youth with co-morbid mental health and autism spectrum diagnosis. The focus of paying attention to cures and fixes doesn’t work in mental illness and it doesn’t translate well to autism either.
Strengths based treatment is sometimes just a buzz word. Getting away from looking at mental health problems as something that needs to be “fixed” or “cured” makes the strengths based approach really come alive. The #boycottautismspeaks movement reminded me that treating autism (and mental health issues) is about finding strengths and adapting those skills. The language that we use has power. Let’s not look for a “cure” and “fix” Let’s look for strengths to build on.