Three days ago, I sent a letter to Autism Speaks in regards to their 2014 financial statements, along with their co-founder’s statements about autism (https://marylandpoetblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/autism-awareness-month-post-three-an-open-letter-to-autism-speaks/). Thursday night, they responded with this:
Thanks for reaching out to Autism Speaks and sharing this feedback. I am happy to share some information to help address these concerns that you have. More than 75 percent of every dollar spent has funded programs and services in science, family services, awareness and advocacy, exceeding Better Business Bureau guidelines each year. The majority of this funding goes toward science, followed by our family services, awareness and advocacy efforts. As we continue to implement our new strategic plan, we are working toward increasing funding in every mission area so that a significant impact is made for everyone affected by autism. You can find all our financial information in our most recent annual report, which is available on our website: https://www.autismspeaks.org/about-us/annual-reports. We do have two people with autism serving on the national Board of Directors, and others are employed in a variety of positions at Autism Speaks. In addition, many of our advocates and partners who have autism play a key role in awareness efforts around the globe. You make a very important point about the diversity of the autism spectrum: it’s absolutely true that autism is a spectrum disorder with many subtypes that affect people in vastly different ways. Individuals with ASD like yourself do have unique talents and ways of thinking, and we want to ensure that people with autism have access to the supports and services they need to pursue their talents and goals. We recognize that autistic people have a wide range of talents, skills, and interests, and we try to highlight these in our videos, articles, and blog posts we publish. Here are some examples you may want to check out
- “In Our Own Words” blog series, written by autistic adults: https://www.autismspeaks.org/wordpress-tags/our-own-words
It’s also true that children with autism become adults with autism, so we also work on a variety of initiatives focused on adult services: access to housing supports and services, attending college, finding meaningful employment, and more. For some examples, I would encourage you to visit the following pages
- Adult services portal: https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/adults
- Preparing for postsecondary education: https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/tool-kits/postsecondary
- Finding meaningful employment: https://www.autismspeaks.org/family-services/adult-services/autism-and-employment
Overall, our goal as an organization is to promote solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the lifespan, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support. We are looking to increase understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder, and advance research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. For more information on this, as well as our organizational vision and goals for the next ten years, please visit https://www.autismspeaks.org/about-us. I hope this helps. I would be happy to provide more information on what we are doing to support the autism community – just let me know.
Manager, Autism Response Team
Autism Speaks 85 Devonshire St., 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02109
Do you think this email addressed my concerns? Does it feel genuine, or a general response email to your average complaint? I want to hear your thoughts below!