Autism Speaks is Not Good for Autism: Heres Why

The reasons you should stop supporting Autism Speaks


Autism Speaks is a major fundraiser and organization in support of Autism. However, with this company, not everything may be what it seems. There have been a lot of questions about this organization’s intentions and actual positive impact on the autistic community. 

What is Autism Speaks?

Let’s start with what Autism Speaks is known for: in short, they are one of the most well-known organizations for people to side with when fundraising for Autism. You often see them partnering with well-known brands and people during awareness months, and are a major face of the neurodivergent community. 

They claim to fundraise to “(increase) understanding and acceptance of people with autism, and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions.”. 

They offer many ways to donate, including donating directly, being a monthly donation, or adding Autism Speaks as a benefactor in your will. There are also ways to go on walks for Autism, triathlons, and raise money for them over social media. So, they have a pretty established way of fundraising, and the following behind them to be able to do so. 

So… What’s the Issue?

This seems like a good thing, but really there is more to this organization than meets the eye. All the claiming to support autistic individuals and fundraising for a proposed “cure” is actually causing more harm than good. 

Autism Speaks is a corrupt organization built by nerotypical people who don’t know how to represent and support people with Autism.

— Halle Connell

The idea that Autism needs to be cured is an idea that remains from old times when they used to use torture methods, such as electric shock and extreme dieting, to cure autism. The electroshock method was used by sending tiny shockwaves through the brain, causing a mini seizure, which was thought to change the brain chemistry to cure autism. It was also thought that toxic diets were the cause, so kids were put on diets to reduce almost anything from their diet that might be “toxic”

There is significant evidence that there is no way to cure autism, because there is no way to treat every person with autism the same way, because of how it presents. There are possible therapies to improve symptoms and accommodate autistic people’s needs, but there is no definite cure. 

Even if there was a cure, there is no need for it. Autism isn’t a problem or a damaged way of thinking that needs to be fixed, it is just a difference in how the brain works and processes things. The idea that it needs a cure is supporting ableist ideas that only further division in our society. 

The other big issue with Autism Speaks is that they don’t actually donate that much of their earnings to autistic organizations. In 2021, Autism Speaks raised about 77.5 million dollars. However, only about 2% of their revenue actually goes towards Family resources, while 20% goes to getting fundraising. 


So, although Autism Speaks is a very popular organization, just think next time you click a link, or promote an organization during an awareness month, or really ever, make sure to do your own research about what you are donating do.