Autism Speaks: Past Controversies
Greggs’s lawsuit is not the first time Autism Speaks has found itself at the center of controversy in its short history. Shortly after its founding in 2005, Autism Speaks was criticized by parents and autistic self-advocates over its promotion of a film, Autism Every Day, in which a mother said she once despaired so much that she thought of driving her autistic daughter and herself off the George Washington Bridge. A dispute about vaccine research also led to a front-page New York Times story describing a rift between Bob and Suzanne Wright, who had founded the organization, and their daughter, Katie Wright.
According to its mission statement, Autism Speaks says that it “dedicated” to “raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder.” Gregg’s discrimination lawsuit has surely raised awareness about the challenges of raising an autistic child. It is unfortunate that Autism Speaks has not actually practiced what it preaches and presented a model of how to accommodate for the needs of autistic children and their families.
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