Annie Lane: Good resources about autism spectrum disorder
Dear Annie: I’ve never sent anything to you before, but in today’s column you noted Autism Speaks as a good resource for learning about autism, and I wanted to respond. The autistic community (of which I am a part) regards the organization as quite misleading and damaging due to their not-so-subtle implications that autistic people are worth less than neurotypicals. One of their main goals is finding a “cure,” which implies that autism is all bad. I’m all for having the dysfunctional parts of my brain fixed, but there’s a lot of great things that come with being autistic, and I never want to lose those. Autism Speaks is partially responsible for the widespread prejudice against autistic people.
The following are some resources that contain good information about autism spectrum disorder: Autism Society (www.autism-society.org), the WHO fact sheet on autism (www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/autism-spectrum-disorders) and the CDC page about autism (www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/index.html).
— Anya M.
Dear Anya: Thank you for your enlightening letter. I will recommend these resources in the future.
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