Monday, June 30, 2014

#EducateSesame Autism Speaks is a Bully

Original post maybe viewed at

By now Sesame Street is aware that the Autistic community is unhappy about their partnership with Autism Speaks. Many of us have reached out, but much to our dismay there has been no response from Sesame Street.

I don't think Sesame Street still understands how dangerous their partnership with Autism Speaks is for autistic children and people. I really and truly don't know how to make it more clear to them, but I am going to try.

Sesame Street,  

Remember when Big Bird was given the invitation to the Good Birds Club?

He was so excited to have been invited! So excited that he starts to sing, listing all the ways he is unique and different, while exclaiming he is happy to be just the way he is.

Big Bird shows up to the spot the invitation told him to meet the birds of the Good Birds Club, right away the other birds tell him he doesn't have what it takes to be in their club. They tell him his feet are too big, much bigger than theirs...

As a response to this rejection 
Big Bird asks Abby to use her magic to make his feet smaller, she tells him it's not a good idea, but does it anyway. The birds in the club still reject him, they tell him he is much too big to be in the Good Birds Club.

Once again Big Bird asks Abby to help him out with her magic this time he wants to be smaller. Abby grants his wish. The birds of the club were still not satisfied, and rejected him again, this time for being too yellow. 

He returns to ask Abby to change his color and she does. Of course the birds still found something about him they did not like, his voice... But, fortunately an adult intervenes and lets Big Bird know he was being bullied.

Then the Happy To Be Me club was born. It was an inclusive club that everyone could join, no matter their differences.

(For those interested the video can be found HERE and there is a transcript to the video HERE)

You see, Autism Speaks is Autistic people's Good Birds Club. They tell Autistic people they can't be included in this world unless they change the very core of who they are. Even then it's not good enough for them, they want to rid the world of Autistic people.

Autism Speaks is a bully.

They believe if we are not indistinguishable from our peers we can not possibly live a fulfilling life. 

They exclude us from our own advocacy. Autism Speaks has ZERO Autistic board members and ZERO Autistic people in any position that has decision making power.They do not see us as human, they talk about us without us. 

They send out PSA's that are full of fear mongering and rhetoric:

Autism Speaks claims that Autistic people are lost and that their families are not living , but merely existing.

Autism Speaks compares autism, a different neurological makeup, to diseases like Aids, Cancer and diabetes. 

Autism Speaks sees nothing wrong with a mother wanting to kill herself and her Autistic child, simply because her child is different. (at 6:15)

Why would Sesame Street want to partner with an organization that clearly does not want to include the voices of those they claim to represent?

Why would anyone want to partner with such a hateful, hurtful, bully of an organization that threatens the personhood of those who it claims to represent?

Why wouldn't Sesame Street ask Autistic people to help with this initiative?

Why does Sesame Street think 2 grandparents with HUGE woe-as-me complexes would be better suited to talk about what it's like to be Autistic?

Why? Why? Why?

Image Description: Green/blue boycott logo frames a black chalkboard.
Lower right hand corner has chalk drawings of Big Bird, Grover, Ernie, Bert, Oscar,
Elmo and Cookie Monster from 
Sesame Street with multi colored chalk pieces and white eraser in front.
 Blue/Green Boycott logo in upper left corner with a black letter "S" and white t
ext reads: "S" is for Stigmatized
That's how we feel when words like "burden" "lost" and "broken" are used about Autism Speaks does...#EducateSesame


  1. Considering the fact that a "cure" is pushed on nonverbal autistics this is an especially apt comparison. Those of us whose bodies move in ways others consider strange(stims and tics), who do not speak, and sometimes call out. Why is cure/making others bodies look like one's own, considered desirable if there is no functional purpose for doing so? Making another person's body aesthetically is comfort of others is not a good enough reason.Big bird is VERY visibly different from other characters. And he's just fine. Why do autistic people need to change our bodies for others?