No I’m not writing about hearing voices. This is just a little rant on something that I came accross the other day.
The Autism Society of America is holding it’s annual conference only 90 minutes away in Providence, Rhode Island this summer. This past weekend, I added information about the conference to the web site and monthly newsletter for the parent support group my wife and I coordinate. As I was visiting the ASA site in order to paste some links, I was taken aback by the phrase that appeared with the ASA logo: “The Voice of Autism.”
I wasn’t aware the autism had just one voice. I rather enjoy listening to many of autism’s voices. I could make a flowery metaphor here about the voices of autism being a chorus, but that would imply that we are all singing on the same key. We know that’s not true! The many voices of autism sometimes create interesting harmonies but other times build into noisy cacophonies.
I’m disappointed in this ‘slogan’ but I’m not going to write off the ASA because of it. I belong and will continue to belong to the ASA. I learn a lot from the magazine the ASA publishes. I also recognize that it’s only one of many groups and that it has strengths and weakness like any other organization. As I wrote in my last post, large organizations tend to overestimate their ability to influence individuals. My cynical side also noticed that the ASA chose to use some improper punctuation and put a period at the end of the phrase, which is clearly not a sentence. The Voice of Autism period. Perhaps someone thought it added a degree of finality to the statement. Perhaps someone was just trying to come up with a strong phrase without really thinking about what it meant. I’m guessing it was the later.
I’d like to suggest a more appropriate slogan: “A Voice of Autism”, without the period at the end.