Open Letter to Matthew McConaughey

Dear Mr. McConaughey,

Let’s talk about Autism Speaks. I think it is wonderful that you want to help autistic children. Unfortunately, you have partnered and are fundraising with an organization that does not actually like helping autistic people. (Here’s a good synopsis.) In fact, just a tiny percentage actually goes to helping real autistic people. Instead they’re trying to “cure” autistic people (who are not a disease) and especially want to develop a prenatal genetic test so that no more autistic persons are born. Just like Iceland getting rid of Down Syndrome pregnancies. This used to be called eugenics. I don’t know what they’re calling it now. Some people call it attempted genocide of a minority.

I’m guessing you missed they whole “nothing about us without us” message of the Autistic Community. If you had asked some people on the spectrum, rather than neurotypical parents of children on the spectrum, you probably would have been told to partner with a different charity. Possibly the Autistic Self Advocacy Network which is actually run by the adult versions of the children you mention in your Kiehl video. Because autistic children grow up to be autistic adults; yes, even ones who get “early interventions” and a full adult work hours’ worth of ABA every week.

I appreciate that you want to help. You’ve gone about it the wrong way but here’s hoping you can learn from this misstep and turn this around before more shares of the video are made and they donate $200,000 to an organization who isn’t going to do with it what you state in your video you want.

Sincerely,
Anya Warde

11 thoughts on “Open Letter to Matthew McConaughey

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  1. You state that Autism Speaks is trying to cure Autistic people who are not a disease. But, Autism Spectrum Disorder (definition of Disorder does include Disease). They have/are trying to actively find a cure/solution. This can be taken out of context. A cure can mean that they find the cause whatever it may be and maybe keep babies from being born with it. We want to find a cure for Cancer too. Who says that somewhere in our genetic makeup we aren’t actually born with it. Would your stance be the same?

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    1. Yes, Autism is currently labeled as a disorder under the medical model. Left-handedness also used to be classed as a disorder. Left-handedness is also difficult to live with in a world that is made for right-handed people. There are cases of left-handed children miserably being forced to write with their right hand. There is a connection between left-handedness and the brain working differently than right handed people’s. I believe there is a disproportionate amount of actors and artists and creative people who are left-handed. Thank God when that was considered a disease/disorder they did not have the capability of deleting the gene, if there is one, that makes people left-handed instead of right, or my husband would not have been born or at least would not be the same person he is today.

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      1. Actually, in school if you try to write left handed the teachers are given you a gentle reminder that you are doing it incorrectly and that you are supposed to use your right hand. This has been the mandate from 1980’s to current through multiple school systems. I have friends and multiple family that can attest to this.

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  2. on the left-handedness metaphor, a study of what trying to correct it does: http://www.jneurosci.org/content/jneuro/22/7/2816.full.pdf
    a better metaphor for curing autism could be the church-run programmes that try to “cure” homosexuality. in both this and left-handedness, there is no disorder (though homosexuality was listed as a disorder until the dsm-iv) and the “cure” results in masking and (pointless) hassle for the person being cured. i think jayme is an idiot, but you can edit this line out of my comment, simply not approve it– or feel absolutely free to approve it as-is. have a lovely day.
    (“it must be correct, or we wouldnt have had a crusade about it!”)

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    1. I am not a censorist. As long as your comment isn’t spam or a racist rant, I’m not going to edit anyone’s comment. That would be too much like trying to take their voice away.

      Thank you for the link on the effects of attempting to convert left handed people. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to be completely clear that I didn’t bring up the left handedness as a disorder to begin with. Also, if you’re going to name call, make sure you’re doing it in a correct manner.

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