Those of you who follow my blog and those of you who know me know that my Sweet Girl, my middle daughter, is Autistic. You know that the sun rises and sets around her as it does with my other daughters. I am not just her advocate, I am also her ally. I’ve written about raising her up to be proud of every part of herself. I’ve written about teaching her to be a self-advocate. I’ve written about experiences in public, and how various individuals have responded to her various behaviors and comments we’ve received. I’ve written about and shared news articles about Autistic teens and young adults who have had interactions with law enforcement that had no training or care about being in the presence of disabled individuals and the abuse and deaths that have occurred as a result. I’ve written about the high rates of abuse and bullying that occur among Autistic individuals and other individuals with disabilities, how it’s much higher among neuro-diverse individuals than among non-disabled and non-autistic peers. I’ve written about my disdain for Autism Speaks.
Now, I’m writing about Google and its collaboration with the project Aut10K created by Autism Speaks. What is it, you ask?
Autism Speaks announced a collaboration with data supergiant Google Cloud Platforms to make the world’s largest database of genomic sequence information on individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), creating an invaluable autism research tool that can be used anywhere in the world.
Book Wright, the co-founder of Autism Speaks, announced Tuesday that the organization would be collaborating with Google to launch the Autism Speaks Ten Thousand Genomes Program (AUT10K) – a project that intends to make the world’s largest private collection of DNA samples open to the public.
We already know through reputable research for the past couple of decades that Autism Spectrum Disorders are genetically based. Yes, it’s suspected that in some instances environmental factors can trigger or exacerbate symptoms but there’s really very little doubt among legitimate scientists that ASD is genetic, is typically hereditary, blah blah blah. Why this seems to be news to the world, I don’t know. Why it’s news to Autism Speaks, I really don’t know. Except instead of Autism Speaks embracing this news in order to embrace the community and start including Autistic individuals in making decisions about themselves, in making proclamations about themselves, AUT10K is happening.
Autism Speaks is still trying to portray themselves as Autism Advocates, as allies, but this project is going to do far more harm than good. It’s because the goal of Autism Speaks is to continue to portray autism as a tragedy, something separate from the individual, something to be cured, and as an illness. They continue to portray the belief that autism should be cured, eliminated, reduced because autistic individuals are too “expensive” in their medical care costs and education costs. Michael Rosanoff, associate director of public health for Autism Speaks has been quoted as saying about a cost study,
“This study shows us what we’ve all known but never had the data to support — that autism is alarmingly expensive.”
They also have an info-graphic about it.I didn’t doctor this, I just took it directly from their site (I think it was Facebook). It’s used to illustrate the idea that Autistic individuals are a burden on society, a COST to society. Do we understand the implications of that language? Let’s reduce the cost, is the implication. How do we reduce the cost? Cure, eradicate, eliminate. Sounds an awful lot like encouraging society to endorse eugenics. Eugenics is scary, people. It’s something many have applied to their belief systems in order to explain their despicable attitudes towards individuals that have various disabilities. Click on this link to see: Bad Cripple: A Reply to “What Should We Do About Severely Impaired Babies”. People really believe this stuff.
Autism Speaks launched the AUT10K project in collaboration with the Hospital for Sick Children’s Centre for Applied Genomics in Toronto. This is a fact. They view Autistic children, teens, and adults as sick individuals that need to be cured. This is a repeated theme in their info-graphics and on their web site.
So, you want to know how this project will be harmful? Check out these reliable links. They’re not propaganda sites, they’re Autism Advocacy pages. They’re pages run by Autistic individuals. THEY are the people that you want to listen to.
As always, I could go on but today I’m not really feeling well. I’m home sick and having trouble concentrating.