Autism Speaks organization was started by Bob Wright and his wife Suzanne Wright one year after their grandson was born with autism in 2005. The organization was started after the recognition of the need of a strong voice to address the issue of autism as individual with the condition were being hidden from the public by their family members. The organization was started so as to increase global awareness about autism, create better understanding on every issue concerning autism spectrum and to increase research and access to care and support to people with autism (Autism Speaks, 2017)
Autism speaks has partnered with The Home Depot and Philips Lighting which is a global leader in lighting. This will help to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism where people are expected to light their homes and other places with the blue light during April which is the world autism month. Customers are expected to purchase Philips blue LED light bulbs either in The Home Depot local stores or in their online shops. The Home Depot Foundation together with the Philips Lighting are expected to donate $/200,000 to Autism Speaks to help it fund its operations (Autism Speaks, 2017)
Learning Express Toys has also partnered with Autism Speaks organization. Learning Express Toys has more than 120 locations in the country and offers several ways for its customers to be able to donate to Autism Speaks as their do their shopping. The customers can donate via their online stores and also the participating stores can ask the shoppers at checkout to donate to Autism Speaks (Autism Speaks, 2015)
The organization should partner with other big companies in the country. Why? This is because the companies can encourage their customers who will either benefit from the help offered to Autism speaks or their family or friends can also be the beneficiaries. The company can partner with Best Buy which is a leading provider of technology products, services and solutions. The company has a physical and online store with a very large number of customers and thus can help to make large donations for Autism Speaks organization (Best Buy, 2017)
The organization can also partner with Walmart which started as a single discount store and has now grown into the largest retailer in the world. Partnership with Walmart will be of great benefit to Autism Speaks as Walmart is in many parts of the world with large sales and thus high profits which their can commit to contribute a small part to Autism Speaks. Also the high number of customer who can help in giving donations (Walmart, 2017)
Cross-cultural challenges and humanitarian considerations
There are other organizations which relentlessly criticize Autism Speaks. While the organization works in advocating for autistic individuals and their families, some members of the neurodiversity community unanimously condemn the organization. The organization is condemned for channeling large amount of funds received to research and not for representing but dehumanizing people with autism as they argue and comprehend autism merely as a problem to be solved.
Despite the self-advocates being sustained and well developed they are always silenced. Autism Speaks organization has never talked about the voices of these neurodiversity self-advocates even if they have plagiarized their work. Some autism people do not support Autism Speaks organization as they feel the organization does not work towards their well-being. Thus there is different feelings in different people concerning the organization and how it undertakes its operations. Some people are in full support of the organization while others oppose the organization completely. The organization discredit self-advocates by creating a binary between the low functioning and high functioning autistics (Miranda-Galarza, Devlieger, Brown, & Strickfaden, 2017)
Use of volunteers and their economic benefit.
Autism Speaks does not only need volunteers for free labour but the volunteers have other economic benefit to the organization. Most of the volunteers are usually available during walk days where they walk for long distances and collect funds for the organization. Other volunteers are involved in planning the walk activities and planning on the food required for the people involved in the walk and ensuring there is enough food and water for people in the walk.
The volunteers can help to create a list of prospect and also reaching out to potential local sponsors which is very important to the organization as they might get a long term sponsor whose contribution will be very important in funding the operations of the organization. Other volunteers can be involved in the mentoring committee where they can be involved in the mentoring of new team captains. The mentors can also make call and answer questions on how to recruit and motivate teams (Autism Speaks, 2017)
Drawbacks to Autism Speaks
One of the drawback of Autism Speaks is that people with autism do not like the organization. This means that that the organization does not fully represent people with autism. The organization should in this case try to create the best relationship with people it serves.
Autism Speaks caters for parents of children with autism instead of catering for the children themselves. The company remains successful despite having no support from people with autism as it caters for the parents of the children with autism. The company seems to abandon the children who seem to be in greater need of help from the organization than their parents. The company should therefore try as much as possible to also deal with the autistic persons who might be in greater need of their support.
Autism Speaks does not allocate its resources to directly help people with autism. Most of its resources goes to research instead of direct care of people with autism. Thus the company does not offer enough financial help to persons with autism. The organization should therefore try to offer a lot of financial help to these persons so as to make their lives more comfortable.
Autism Speaks seeks for a cure for autism. The organization states in its mission that it seeks to find a cure for autism which is very problematic. Finding a cure for a disorder that seems to cause a lot of social, communication and behavioral challenges is important but this perspective is ultimately rooted in ableism and does not accept the entirety of the experience of autism. The organization suggest that the experience of autism is inherently, a bad one and affects second class citizens which is not true and this ends up creating a negative impact on the autistic community. This makes the autistic community feel like the organization does not care about them. The company should try as much as possible to ensure that it does not come up with conclusions that end up hurting the people they should be helping and making their lives easier and more comfortable.
The company has no autistic person in their board of directors. Many organizations usually employ people from the community they serve while Autism Speaks does not do this which means that the company is out of touch with the autistic community. There is no person with autism in their major decision making body and thus the persons with autism feel like they are not represented. For the company to teach other people to treat people with autism like are equals it should also serve as an example by employing autistic people and fixing them in the board of directors or in their major decision making bodies (Henkel , 2017)
Organization’s vision for the future
Autism speaks has made extraordinary advancement in the autism community. The advancements include increased global awareness of autism, better understanding of the breadth of the autism spectrum and an increase in research and access to care and support. The organization is dedicated to advancing research into causes and better treatments of for autism spectrum and other related conditions, increasing understanding and acceptance of people with autism and working towards finding solutions to problems and needs of people with autism and their families through advocacy and support.
To accomplish this, the organization has come up with goals which should be accomplished within a period of 10 years. The goals include the following:
They should get a clear and better understanding of the cause and typology of autism spectrum disorder. By de end of the 10 year, the company should be able to determine what causes autism and how it can be prevented.
Children with autism should also be diagnosed before the age of 2 years which will help to ensure the children start receiving the care they need early enough. It will also help to prepare parents of autistic children on taking care of their children and also giving them time to learn about the disorder.
By the end of the ten years children with autism should be able to access appropriate intervention, services and resources immediately they are diagnose with autism spectrum disorder which will help to keep the person in check early enough.
By de end of ten years there should be the availability of better treatments for autism and any other co-existing condition that might decrease the quality of life for those persons with autism. This will help lengthen their lives and make it more comfortable.
By the end of the ten years, people with autism together with their families should be able to have transition plans which will result in more independent adult life that is more meaningful to the individual.
By de end of the period, individuals with autism should have effective interventions, services and support throughout their life time which will help them lead an almost normal life just like any other person.
These goals can only be achieved through work with communities national wide, at the federal level and globally by working with partners, government and other organizations. An inclusive approach that values diversity and individual needs is required for the achievement of the goals. The organization will work in partnership with other companies which share in their goals, ambitions and values (Autism Speaks, 2017)
Areas in which the organization can improve
The organization should improve on its staff. I would advise them to employ some autism person in their board of directors or in other high positions of their organization management. This will show their support in showing that persons with autism can be able to perform just like the normal person and can thus be given similar opportunities.
They also try to ensure more of the money they get from their sponsors is used to provide services, support and resources to people with autism and less is used for research. From these the persons will feel appreciated and thus enhancing good relationship between the organization and the community.
The organization should also avoid releasing statements which might end up hurting the persons in one way or the other. They should also try as much as possible to show their support to people with autism (Guest Blogger, 2017)
How can I contribute to the organization?
As a volunteer I would dedicate my free time in outreach and awareness activities. I would help educate people about autism and help them understand the efforts of the organization in helping people with autism. I would also talk to people in the local community to ensure all their needs are known and are being taken care of by the organization.
I would also get involved in autism walks which are very important as they help in collecting funds for use in the organization. While in the walk I would help in checking in participants, providing encouragement and also cleaning up after the event. Walks usually collect the largest amount of funds for Autism Speaks (Autism Speaks, 2017)
Autism speaks. (2017). About Autism speaks. Autism speaks. Retrieved 25 May 2017, from https://www.autismspeaks.org/about-us
Autism Speaks. (2017). Autism Speaks partners with The Home Depot and Philips Lighting. Autism Speaks. Retrieved 25 May 2017, from https://www.autismspeaks.org/news/news-item/autism-speaks-partners-home-depot-and-philips-lighting
Autism Speaks. (2017). Dollar General to raise funds for Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks. Retrieved 25 May 2017, from https://www.autismspeaks.org/news/news-item/dollar-general-raise-funds-autism-speaks
Autism Speaks. (2017). Learning Express Toys Partners with Autism Speaks. Autism Speaks. Retrieved 25 May 2017, from https://www.autismspeaks.org/events/learning-express-toys-partners-autism-speaks
Autism Speaks. (2017). Volunteer opportunities. Autism Speaks. Retrieved 29 May 2017, from http://communities.autismspeaks.org/site/c.ihLPK1PDLoF/b.7513471/k.7B76/Volunteer_Opportunities.htm
Autism Speaks. (2017). Volunteer opportunities. Autism Speaks. Retrieved 28 May 2017, from http://communities.autismspeaks.org/site/c.ihLPK1PDLoF/b.7513471/k.7B76/Volunteer_Opportunities.htm
Best Buy. (2017). About Best Buy. Best Buy. Retrieved 28 May 2017, from https://corporate.bestbuy.com/about-best-buy/
Guest Blogger. (2017). WHY AUTISM SPEAKS HURTS US. Think Inclusive. Retrieved 29 May 2017, from https://www.thinkinclusive.us/why-autism-speaks-hurts-us/
Henkel, D. (2017). 7 Reasons To Not Support Autism Speaks. Odyssey. Retrieved 28 May 2017, from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/7-reasons-not-support-autism-speaks
Miranda-Galarza, B., Devlieger,, P., Brown, S., & Strickfaden, M. (2017). Rethinking Disability: World Perspectives in Culture and Society (1st ed.). Maklu, 2016.
Walmart. (2017). About Walmart. Walmartt. Retrieved 28 May 2017, from http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story
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