The Voices

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.

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7 Responses to The Voices

  1. Bronwyn G says:

    I agree.

    Autism has many many voices of all sorts of shapes and colours.

    People don’t think sometimes, do they?

  2. Yes, it’s a very obnoxious slogan. When the activists at autistics.org found out about it, they were so annoyed that they changed their own slogan to “The Real Voice of Autism.”

  3. Wade Rankin says:

    I think it’s fair to say that the ASA has, at times, managed to alienate otherwise disparate groups in the autism community. That is a shame, as they could do so much. Your suggested slogan would certainly signal a welcome attitude change.

  4. You are right on about this one. Even if ASA does a lot of good, we always have to be on guard since the big “patient advocacy organizations” are always influenced by political forces and, at times, drug company money.

  5. Iberius says:

    What else do you expect from ASA.

    ASA and groups like them (generation rescue, DAN! CAN! etc.) are extrodinarly arrogant.

    After all they know the ‘holy truth’ that autism is caused by vacines.

    ASA does more harm than good, but what do you think would happens when an adovcacy group contains people who are mostly not autistic.

    I mean do you think Martin Luther King would have make much of a mark if he were white.

  6. Pingback: Autism Vox » I speak of autism

  7. Is it just me, or has Larry King had like 5 heart attacks and 5 divorces. I guess that’d be a broken heart for each.

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