walk for autism speaks


I am Cyndi.

I am a 35 year old autistic adult.

I will not shrink or change who I am to make others happy. 

There is no “normal” woman hiding behind my autism. I am me, autism and all. Being autistic has shaped every atom of my being. Everything from how I move to how I experience my emotions. You can’t take autism away without killing me. 

I stim shamelessly in public. I have a lot of sensory issues and difficulty with transitioning between activities. My overstimulation threshold is extremely low, so I’m almost always stimming in some form or another.

Sometimes I have meltdowns– some of them involve screaming, some are crying and some are self-injurious. Yeah, I punch myself in the head or bash my forehead against things.

I can talk reasonably well, but the words I say are often simpler than my thoughts. Speaking requires me to engage a lot of brainpower, though you can’t see the effort because it’s only palpable to me. Typing uses a lot less brainpower. I’m better at expressing myself in writing.

I am who I am and it’s not my problem if you don’t like it.

Autism Speaks wants to erase me and others like me from existence. Autistic people who can’t speak or make their communications understood by wide audiences are especially vulnerable to the hate and negativity this organization spews about us.

You are a hypocrite if you say “be yourself!” while supporting an organization that says “but not like that. We have to fix you first.”

Autism Speaks devalues autistic peoples’ lives. Why support that? So don’t.

Don’t wear blue on April 2nd. Don’t light it up blue. Don’t go to Autism Speaks walks unless you’re there to protest against the organization.

Don’t support Autism Speaks.

#boycottautismspeaks #actuallyautistic #walkinred

Britt here, reminding you to listen to autistic people and that Autism Speaks ignores actually autistic people. They continue to spread lies/fear/hate about us and they are an ablest organization. So this April, don’t light it up blue, instead walk in red!

I’m autistic and I do not need to be “fixed”.

Preventing an autistic person from stimming is probably on par with taking a quadraplegic person’s wheelchair joystick away, taking a deaf person’s sign language away or taking a blind person’s Braille away.

Autistic people NEED to stim to function, dammit! You wouldn’t punish or shame physically disabled people who use mobility aids, tactile reading or sign language to function, so why does anyone think it’s okay to punish and shame autistic people for doing something that helps them function?

Parents, if you suppress your child’s stimming, you are being ableist and you are abusing them. It’s okay to teach them alternative stims or give them a quiet stim toy if you need them to be quiet, but you should NEVER, I mean NEVER, teach your child that stimming is bad and needs to stop.

If you are autistic and were shamed or abused for stimming– it’s NOT your fault. It was wrong of anyone to stop your stims and I hope you learn it’s okay to stim again. YOU are not broken!

Please reblog this around. Spread autism acceptance. I am autistic. My voice matters because I decided it does. ALL autistic voices matter.


ASAN Vancouver’s protest at the 2016 Autism Speaks walk in Burnaby, BC.* Part two! Photos by Marvin Schaber :)

[Photoset description: A series of six photographs taken of the attendees, the colourful signage, the flyers we distributed, and the location of ASAN Vancouver’s protest against Autism Speaks. We set up alongside a paved path that the Autism Speaks event used as the walk route.

Some of the signs say, “Listen to Autistic adults”, “Got questions? Autistic adults are the best resource for parents of autistic kids”, “Autistic rights are human rights”, “Protest against Autism Speaks”.

Two visible flyer titles say “What’s the Problem With Whole Body Listening?” and “Neurodiversity”. End of image description.]

*Correction: No brain, it was not. It was in Richmond this year.


Soooo it’s April 2nd again.
For those of y'all who don’t know me I’m Larissa, I’m 16, I’m a model and I’m autistic.
I was diagnosed when I was 15 and the whole experience was incredibly helpful and exposed me to a whole community of people more diverse and beautiful than I could have ever imagined. Our community has struggled for so long to break out of the box society has built for us and now in 2016 I don’t believe we’ve ever been more powerful. I want to live in a world where I can exist without being treated like a second class citizen, I want my challenges to be as accepted as my gifts. I want this for everyone in our community.
I’m not your inspiration, I’m not your teachable moment and I don’t exist to ‘show you how to be a better person’. I’m autistic, I don’t ‘suffer from’ or ‘happen to have’ or 'live a life in the shadow of’, autism is a gift that has made my life hard in the past but is only making me stronger. And even though this day is meant for neurotypicals to tell us how horrible we are, we’re reclaiming it and asserting our power. I love this community 💘💘💘

Reblog if you’re autistic too! :)

And now all the Light it up Blue people will go back to their lives after patting themselves on the back for their “awareness” stuff. Autism Speaks will wipe its ass with the money it made with its lies and stigma.

To those lighting it up blue, it’s just a month to flash a puzzle piece, speak over us and say they’re being supportive. 

To those walking in red, it’s a lifetime of fighting to be heard. Red is a great “fight” color. Red is like fire. Red is like anger. Red is like passion.

We are still here. We will always be here. We are fire, anger and passion. We are human beings and our importance shouldn’t be defined by a single month of the year.



ASAN Vancouver’s protest at the 2016 Autism Speaks walk in Burnaby, BC.* Part one! Photos by Marvin Schaber :)

[Photoset description: A series of six photographs taken of the attendees, the colourful signage, the flyers we distributed, and the location of ASAN Vancouver’s protest against Autism Speaks. We set up alongside a paved path that the Autism Speaks event used as the walk route.

There is a table set up with signage that says “Free Earplugs” and “People Not Puzzles” that is holding flyers and earplugs. Signage with the ASAN Vancouver name, logo, and a QR code stands next to the group.

Some of the signs say, “Listen to Autistic adults”, “Support Not Cure”, “Autistic rights are human rights”, and “Protest against Autism Speaks”.

Two visible flyer titles say “What’s the Problem With Whole Body Listening?” and “Neurodiversity”. End of image description.]

*Correction: No brain, it was not. It was in Richmond this year.

Autism: Acceptance vs. Cure

trigger warnings for: medical abuse, ABA, conversion therapy, ableism, A$, brief suicide mention

note: I wrote this paper as an english assignment for a neurotypical audience. Because of this, it goes over a lot of “basics” that you probably already know (like what “allistic” means) but I’m hoping this can serve as a resource to direct your cure-seeking friends/family to.

here is a link to the same paper on google docs in a more accessible, easily linkable form. 

see end of paper for works cited.

long essay under the cut

Keep reading

Autistic brains need to work things out sometimes, so let them!

Sometimes I’ll mentally imagine a scene I want to write for a fanfic while I’m stimming. I know I’ll lose it if I stop the stim the same way you lose a dream if you wake up, so I keep the stim going for a long time to mentally play out the scene several ways like a movie. If I’m stimming on music you can guess what happens. I delete everything else off the playlist except for that song LOL! I visualize over and over until I can turn what I see into words. It’s like the thought is connected to the movement. Remember those old cameras that required a crank to capture silent movies on film? The movie stops being captured if you stop cranking. Same thing with my brain– I have to keep “cranking” via stimming to capture the images I’m trying to imagine.

But sometimes I might do it while motionless and staring off into space, though I’ve trained myself to look at something with a lot of text so people think I’m reading. Thing is, sometimes I relax and my mouth hangs open like I’m catching flies with it. Oops. :P

Aaand sometimes I might freeze in position if a thought hits me while I’m in motion and I have to play it out before I dare to move again because moving wakes me up from my ‘dream’. Fortunately, this happens most often when I’m in my room, so I can assume whatever weird pose I want and not care how it looks. 

All of the above only happen when I’m actively working on a fanfic. If you ever bump into me in person and you see me doing those, I AM WRITING. Writing in my head is still writing!

I guess I DO fit the stereotypes laid out by so-called “experts” and the problem is many experts don’t realize such behaviors serve a vital purpose. I wonder how many nonverbal kids and adults get redirected every time they try to figure something out because some allistic thinks they’re engaging in “pointless, behavior” ie not looking normal enough.

If you’re a parent and your autistic child has a meltdown every time you redirect them when they stop to stim and stare into space, consider the fact that you might be interrupting a train of thought. Caretakers, if you’re in charge of an adult who does the same, also consider the above. Give them sometime to puzzle things over.

Pretend you misplaced your keys by accident. After hours of searching, you find them. You know where they are and you want to use them to drive to the store. How frustrated would you feel if someone made you go wash dishes or do math problems every time you spotted your keys and went to grab them?

That’s basically what you’re doing when you interrupt an autistic person who is working something out in their head. It’s frustrating as hell!

Granted, in my case it’s not a super vital thing and I can probably pick up the train of thought again later, but that may not be the case for someone whose autism affects them differently.

So please consider that, okay?

(Anyone can reblog if you want. I’d like to spread some autism understanding and acceptance. :) )


Image description: The first photo shows me (a white-passing, femme young adult person) sitting in a wheelchair, holding one sign in my hands and with one leaning against my legs. The first sign says, “Got questions? Autistic adults are the best resource of parents of autistic kids. Autisticadcovacy.org”. The second sign says, “Autistic rights are human rights #lovenotfear”.

The second photo shows myself in my wheelchair with my signs and three other femme people who are all also holding signs. The visible signs are rainbow coloured and say “Love not fear”, “Think posAUtive”, “Autism Speaks does not speak for me!”, and “Autism is Awesome”. There is a small table behind us with a sign that says “free earplugs”, a box of earplugs, and ASAN pamphlets on top.

Pictures from Vancouver ASAN’s protest at the Autism Speaks walk this morning. I made those two signs I’m holding, Alanna made the rest of the signs, and Marvin took these photos. A few more people ended up coming so there were seven of us there (and Marvin). I think we all did good work today!

Now I’m going to go lie down and never get up.

in honor of autism awareness, i am going to make a post on how all of us could help out these poor people with autism : (

  • give me all of your money
  • worship me
  • listen to me
  • accept me as your superior 
  • my autistic self will always be fantastic and i dont need the pity from allistics 
  • stop supporting shitty organizations that love to crap upon us (autism speaks)
  • dont ask me about information on autism speaks. i am not your walking talking Google
  • im perfect in every way
  • i am powerful
  • basically, me > allistics 

I guarantee you that this is best contribution you can give to autistic people 

Watch on butterflyinthewell.tumblr.com

Link in case Tumblr eats the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVcAuIs0yPs 

A copy of the speech I wrote and read is below. Hey autismspeaksofficial, you said “autism speaks, it’s time to listen.” I am autistic and I am speaking. LISTEN.

Autism Speaks is the most offensive organization out there to autistic people. If you participate in their “Light it up Blue” puzzle piece garbage, you are not supporting autistic people, and I’ll tell you why.

Autism Speaks uses fear, stigma and ableism to make autism look like a fate worse than death.

Autism Speaks dehumanizes autistic people. How would you feel about someone saying they would rather have a dead child than someone like you?

Autism Speaks says I am a burden.

Autism Speaks says I am an epidemic.

Autism Speaks calls me broken and in need of curing.

Autism Speaks wants to prevent people like me from being born.

Autism Speaks promotes therapies that are damaging and traumatic for the sake of making people like me look normal.

Autism Speaks sympathizes with the parents who murder their autistic children.

Autism Speaks doesn’t have a single autistic person on their staff.

Only four percent of the money Autism Speaks makes goes to help families. The rest is spent on eugenics and research.

Do I look like a disease to you? Do I look like I need to be fixed or cured?

I wish I was joking, but Google the terms “Autism Speaks controversy” and you’ll see the truth.

Autism Speaks not speak for autistic people. Autism Speaks is a bully, and I don’t like bullies!

You’re much better off supporting the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, or ASAN. They have autistic people on staff and they know what they’re talking about. Nothing about us without us.

If you want to use a color to support autistic people, use red. The Walk In Red movement is a counterpoint to the offensive Light it up Blue. Autistic people support this by wearing red to promote autism acceptance, which is much better than simple awareness. Wearing red in April shows you see autistic people as humans who are wired differently rather than diseases who need a cure.

Cancer is something that needs curing. Autism is not.

I’m not broken or made wrong. I am not a disease or an epidemic. I don’t accept the notion that I have to remove a vital part of my identity to fit in.

Temple Grandin, one of the most famous autistic people out there, has a quote: “I am different, not less.”

I want to take the quote a step further. I am not a puzzle piece. I am Cyndi. I am different, not less.

Autism: Why ABA and stim suppression are bad

*** This video may be triggering for autistic people who have PTSD due to ABA therapy. * * *

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEoW5rfNXM4 I’m really sorry that I don’t have captions on this. I have basically zero ability to type to dictation no matter how slow a person goes. I always put in what I wrote if I read something for a video, but most times I do it without written aid. A summary if the video’s contents is below.

I talk about why ABA is abuse and I simulate the experience of a child who gets told “quiet hands” by suppressing my own stims during a time where I really need to be stimming to self-regulate. I tell exactly what I’m feeling as I suppress and you can visibly see the reaction escalate as I work harder and harder to not stim. The reactions in this video are 100% real. Now imagine a child going through it. IT IS TORTURE AND IT IS ABUSE TO PUT A CHILD THROUGH THAT.

Btw I do not have any eating disorders or cancer, I am just very skinny. I’ve always been underweight and it’s just a manifestation of my PDD-NOS. (Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified).


I am an autistic person. I am speaking. Listen.

I am not a puzzle piece.
I am not an epidemic, a disease or a burden.
I am not broken.
I am not missing.
I am not something to exploit for money.
I don’t need to be cured because there’s nothing wrong with me

Autism Speaks exploits and dehumanizes me for its own benefits.

Supporting Autism Speaks means supporting exploitation, dehumanization, murder and eugenics. 

Seeing people and places “light it up blue” is a painful reminder that autistic people are not seen as equals, but as lesser. It shows me that I have to remove a vital part of me and cease to be who I am to be seen as human and equal to everybody else.

Yes, people can light it up blue for one day and say they contributed to “autism awareness”, but it doesn’t do a thing for autistic people like me who have to fight stigma and negative rhetoric day after day after day. 

Does my voice really matter so little? Am I just a puzzle piece making noise? Is anyone listening to me, or am I being drowned out by blue light and cure campaigns? 

I am autistic. I am speaking.

Autism is not the enemy. 

Autism Speaks is the enemy.

A long, sad story about the attitudes that Autism Speaks propagates, and an encounter with a spokesperson "autism dad"

I’m still working on my post covering the Vancouver ASAN protest against the Autism Speaks walk, but here is the story of one of the “autism parents” we encountered. The interaction here was definitely the worst and most disheartening part of the day but I feel like it’s really important to talk about.

We were well into the morning, handing out flyers and pamphlets to the masses of families in “Team Aiden” and “Team Emily” shirts, answering questions and talking to anyone who stopped to look at our signage. A man and his adult son approached us and began chatting up our chapter leader, Alanna.

Marvin leaned down and quietly identified the man as the person who gave the fear/hope/cure speech on the stage prior to the walk. His motive was clear to Marvin and me from his hello— he was not there to listen. I was, though. I listened closely as I smiled and passed out flyers, and during breaks in the stream of people I watched the interaction between Alanna and the “autism dad” with growing distaste. Eventually I began taking notes.

Keep reading

The problem is less that autistic people aren’t speaking, and much more that non-autistic people won’t stop.

Today is Autistics Speaking Day. I have something to say to non-autistic people. Can you listen?

Marvin and I went out to eat after protesting the 2014 Autism Speaks walk with ASAN Vancouver. From the moment we entered the restaurant, a patron sitting and eating with her family was openly staring at me and my wheelchair.

It seemed like this person really had a problem with me when I got out of my wheelchair to fold it up and sit at the only place we could-  the table right next to her and her family. The staring got really obvious then. When Marvin brought over our food and McStaringson saw that we were going to stay and eat there, she got very uncomfortable.

I was tired, 110% finished with non-autistics, hungry, and overloaded in all of my senses. In that moment I cared a sub-zero amount about looking non-autistic, or less obviously disabled. I just did my thing and ignored McStaringson. I made no eye contact with anyone. I didn’t force any facial expressions. I was rocking in my seat, and I very likely flapped my hands when I saw our food coming.

When she couldn’t take it anymore (and she didn’t last long) McStaringson leaned over and pointed me out to her family. From the table immediately next to us. She was upset. I could hear her very clearly, but I’m sure she wanted me to. She actually managed to convince her teenage kids and spouse to get up and leave their food, which none of them had finished, so that she could get away from me as fast as possible.

I never went back to that restaurant. It took a little time and a lot of gritting my teeth to be able to eat in public again.

I have tried to talk about this three times in the presence of non-autistic people. All three times I was met with disbelief, justification, or correction- as if I were wrong about the thing that happened to me. Perhaps you’re feeling bristly and defensive yourself. Perhaps you’re already composing a #NotAllAllistics response like the ones I have heard in real space.

“It couldn’t have been that bad.”

“I’m sure you misunderstood.”

“Maybe she was leaving for some other reason.”

“Well, don’t autistic people struggle with understanding facial expressions…?”

They spoke for me, over me. They were so unwilling to hear what I was saying or believe that ableism is a widespread problem to which everyone is owed some responsibility, that they denied reality and my experiences.

And yet, this is the same kind of person who expresses dismayed surprise when they are finally confronted with an act of violent ableism or obvious oppression that they can’t deny. The denial of our daily lived experiences is the foundation for more obvious forms of oppression, but they can’t see the link. That link needs to be pointed out and the silencing needs to stop.

It’s not so much that autistic people aren’t speaking. We are speaking. It’s that so few are listening, and the rest of you won’t stop speaking over us. Our voices get drowned out. Often this is intentional. Sometimes it is the result of a true ignorance about autistic people and our lives, or the wrong belief that autistic people need someone to speak for them. But allies can help fight this ignorance and slay that insidious lie.

When an autistic person shares their lived experiences, believe and support them. When we have something to say, listen. Value our knowledge. Share our words so they fly farther. Amplify our voices, no matter how we communicate. I would say that the Autistics Speaking Day hashtags are an excellent place to start.

#AutisticsSpeakingDay #ASDay


Image description: A series of photographs taken at ASAN Vancouver’s protest at the Autism Speaks walk in Burnaby, BC.

Here are some pictures Marvin took of the protest today. Alanna even got the Global TV News person to come out and film us! Stay tuned for a video from me with some footage from the event and a mini vlog :D