Boycott Autism Speaks are very concerned with the "See Amazing in All Children" autism awareness materials and information recently released from Sesame Workshop. Though we acknowledge that Sesame Workshop did make some effort after pressure from BAS and the Autistic community to include Autistic people in their development, the materials do not reflect the values and mission of Boycott Autism Speaks.
We must move away from the narrative that states that autism is something that we do to our families, friends and loved ones. These materials portray Autistic children as props and accessories to the stories of their parents, siblings and friends. From the alarmist “1 in 68” graphics to the focus on parental hardships that are blamed on autism, these materials will only serve to further stigmatize Autistic people. Boycott Autism Speaks recognizes that to truly empower Autistic people, we must be the ones telling our own stories.
We strongly encourage Sesame Workshop to give priority to Autistic voices in the development of any further materials in order to reflect the concepts of unconditional acceptance, authentic inclusion and the value of neurodiversity. It is absolutely essential that Autistic voices lead this conversation.
As many in the Autistic community have noted already, when you mix messages of acceptance with messages of ableism, the messages of acceptance no longer function. Sesame Workshop, we deserve better and you can do better.
Please check out these links for more of the discussion about Autistic representation and Sesame Workshop:
Not in Love With Julia By Erin Human
You can Do Better By: The Caffeinated Autistic