Experts in our own lives

Leia Solo

One of the popular catch phrases in my profession is that ‘people are the experts in their own lives’. In the social work profession, we acknowledge that when it comes to talking about experiences, identifying goals and deciding what happens, clients know best. This is also called self-determination.

When it comes to autistic people, this seems to be a really hard concept for people to accept. The mainstream media, many parent support groups, education departments, researchers and professionals who work with autistic people, seem to have a lot of trouble seeing autistic people as the experts in their own lives.

Justifications for research on autistic children, publishing stories about them in the media and subjecting them to many hours of behaviour modification therapies is that they experience ‘challenging behaviours’, have ‘difficulty coping with peers’ and are ‘disruptive’ or ‘violent’. Time is spent trying to improve their eye contact, sit still…

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shameful: 2014 Autism Speaks’ financials


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Please feel free to republish or share any of the images content in this blog post. Download a printable pdf flyer.

Autism Speaks:  Your dollars@work
***The data used to create this chart was extracted from Autism Speaks’ 2014 audited financial statements.  You can find the original data here on Autism Speaks’ website.

Please click images for alt text.
The image is a pie chart in various shades of blue.  The first slice is advertising, marketing and donated media $52,935, 472 with a call out pointing to the slice reading 43.91%.  The next slice is salaries, benefits and payroll taxes $23,300,19 with a callout pointing to the slice that reads 19.33 percent.  The next slice is science grants and awards $15,300,709 with callout pointing to slice reading 12.69%.  The next slice is family services grants and awards $4,631,690 with callout pointing to slice reading 3.84%.  The last slice is everything else $24,379,795 with callout pointing to slice reading 20.23%.

In 2014 (like other years)Less than 4% of Autism Speaks’ expenditures support Autistic people and their families.  Salaries/benefits and associated expenses account for almost 20% of its expenditures.

the image is a spreadsheet graphic with the following figures: Advertising, marketing & donated media $52,935,472 43.91% Salaries, benefits & payroll taxes $23,300,191 19.33% Science grants & awards $15,300,709 12.69% Professional services including donated $5,465,516 4.53% Family service grants & awards $4,631,690 3.84% Supplies & equipment $3,435,590 2.85% Venues & services $2,674,630 2.22% Travel, meals, lodging, transportation &catering $2,568,518 2.13% Occupancy $2,157,190 1.79% Postage & Shipping $960,983 0.80% Donation processing & bank fees $946,242 0.78% Premiums & recognition $941,784 0.78% Printing $855,155 0.71% Conferences, meetings, &sponsorships $842,462 0.70% Merchandising & biomaterials $645,112 0.54% Telephone & Internet $536,014 0.44% Site, audit, licensing & filing fees $498,904 0.41% Legal fees $460,398 0.38% Depreciation & amortization $387,407 0.32% Temporary services $362,888 0.30% Other $267,438 0.22% Photography & videoography $208,305 0.17% Insurance $165,259 0.14% Total 2014 expenditures $120,547,857<strong>The Ugly Truth Broken Down</strong>

Donate to underfunded organizations that support Autistic people.
Ed Wiley Autism Acceptance Library
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