April is Autism Speaks Awareness Month

Warning: I will be using words like “suffering”, “afflicted”, devastating” and “cure” because, unlike autism, which does not have a cure and is not devastating, people affected by Autism Speaks’ Rhetoric Disorder (ASRD) do suffer and may cause pain to others. There is a cure, though and it is achievable through information. This information is widely available, for free, from Autistic adults who live with pride, and our true allies.

Know the signs.

  • I am not a parent but I’ve heard from parents who once suffered from Autism Speaks’ Rhetoric Disorder (ASRD).
  • It goes like this:
  • A child is loved, celebrated and adored by their family. At some point, the parents notice some developmental delays. After a while, and after many tests, the child is given a diagnosis of autism, often by a doctor who can only see deficits.
  • The parents go home and if they are not knowledgeable about autism, they start looking for resources that they hope will help them understand how an autistic life can be, how to help their child. They are shocked, because they did not expect that, because they believe all the plans and dreams they had for their child are lost.
  • Note that the child is still the same, full of unique qualities, but now she is seen as a bunch of deficits, as a little human being who needs to be fixed. The parents are confused and cannot see that the same dreams still apply, that they might need some accommodations and adaptations but that there are still real and possible dreams.
  • If the parents’ system is too weakened by the doctor’s extreme pathological approach, they are at a greater risk to contract ASRD. That’s right: one can get ASRD. It is not genetic. The greater risk comes from the power of a misguided media and a celebrity culture that place Autism Speaks at the top of the list for “information” about autism.
  • As long as Autism Speaks is in that position, there is a greater risk of contamination.


  • People who contract ASRD will begin giving a lot of money to Autism Speaks walks that lead to nowhere;
  • They will have a fascination for blue lights and puzzle pieces, believing these symbols help Autistic people;
  • They will slowly lose their ability to question absurd claims that do not have much in common with the reality of their lives and with who their child really is;
  • They will become so lost in the symptoms of this terrible disorder that they will not notice that not even one of the promises of help from Autism Speaks has been fulfilled;

There are moments of clarity that people affected by ASRD experience and sometimes those moments lead to a cure. Unfortunately, many people only experience those moments for short periods of time. The disorder can get very serious when the symptoms become too severe: they make the perceptions about life and autism distorted.

Parents will believe they are martyrs and heroes, that their life is an eternal suffering and that every single problem is autism’s fault.

Worse, they will project that assumption, that distorted view caused by ASRD, into their child. The young autistic will be blamed, berated and punished as the cause of all pain.

Parents who suffer from ASRD lose the ability to see qualities and beauty in their children. They can only see deficits and will try any and every abusive approach to “fix” the child. They lose the ability to discern between what is broken and what is whole and complex (as human beings are)

The most devastating cases of ASRD are those who lose their ability to feel compassion for abused and oppressed people. They begin to understand and sympathize with murderers of Autistics and other disabled people. When the murderers are also parents, the ones afflicted by ASRD see such crimes as heroic, merciful acts.

Those cases can also lead the afflicted to imagine committing the murder themselves. They even say that in front of a camera, for the record, and even worse, in front of their Autistic child. ASRD is so devastating, the parent stops parenting and starts resenting their child’s existence

Autistics are not likely to contract ASRD from the source, Autism Speaks. But we can have our lives turned upside down from being close to a primarily contaminated person.

When we are young, before an autism diagnosis, we just enjoy our many experiences being ourselves. This feeling can last, even as we realize that we are not like most other children, if people close to us have been immunized against ASRD, by being informed and by getting their information from Autistic adults.

If our parents do get ASRD, we will begin to see ourselves as broken, as lost souls that cause pain to others. We will believe autism makes us lesser people and we will accept the grading given to us, according to the made up categories of functionality.

Our chances of being free from the contamination are not great because the media has the disorder and spreads it much faster. When Autistics who were not exposed to ASRD, or who managed to get cleaned, try to speak up, the media calls reinforcements. Some self-proclaimed “autism experts” are booked by the mainstream media to promote ASRD, refusing to acknowledge the devastating effects of the disorder, denying Autistics the chance to voice our opinions.

ASRD causes hateful thoughts, refusal to acknowledge diversity, supremacist ideals, self-pity, martyr syndrome, a tendency to see deficits in every gesture of an Autistic, inability to admit that Autistics are not broken, and many more sad characteristics.

  • The one characteristic that makes ASRD so tragic is the fact that many parents allow the worse flare-ups of the disorder to cloud their love for their children.
  • They stop helping building the child’s self-esteem
  • They stop presuming competence
  • They stop dreaming
  • They lose hope
  • They miss every awesome moment
  • They give up

We need to combat Autism Speaks’ Rhetoric Syndrome now! We need to let parents know there is a cure and that Autistics of all ages, and our true allies, can help them find their antidote.

It all begins with information.

And awareness.

April is Autism Speaks Awareness Month.

Every day is Autism Speaks’ Rhetoric Disorder Awareness Day.


About the Author, Amy Sequenzia.