Some autistic people prefer jigsaw puzzle-piece based symbols, others dislike them. There are a wide variety of both supportive and critical opinions about the movement among people who are autistic or associated with people with autism. Kathy Grant, two autistic individuals who knew Sinclair through pen pal lists and autism conferences. John elder robison be different pdf 1992, to an audience of mostly neurotypical professionals and parents of young autistic children.
The number of autistics in the organization grew slowly, over the years, and it eventually became a communication network for like-minded autistics. As of 2012, Autreat has been held every year, except for 2001. How about not curing us? The project affiliated with The Autistic Self Advocacy Network and other activist groups in North America and was one of the first to sign the petition against the New York Child Study Campaign. It is also recognized by ASAN in a letter to the United Nations of being one of the first autism organizations to promote autism acceptance.
From 2005-8, TAAProject organized arts-based events to show the public an active autism rights movement that burgeoned online. In addition, it sponsored the controversial Joy of Autism: Redefining Ability and Quality of Life events and lectures in Toronto, featuring dozens of autistic artists and speakers including Jim Sinclair, Michelle Dawson, Phil Schwartz, Morton Ann Gernsbacher, Larry Bissonnette and more. The first ads were a series published by the NYU Child Study Center that appeared in the form of ransom notes. One read, “We have your son. We will make sure he will no longer be able to care for himself or interact socially as long as he lives.
This is only the beginning”, and was signed, “Autism”. The text read, “Got autism? Phone calls, letters and petitions organized by ASAN led to the removal of these ads. The rise of the Internet has provided more opportunities for autistic individuals to connect and organize. Considering the geographical distance, communication and speech patterns of autistic individuals, and the domination of neurotypical professionals and family members in established autism organizations, the Internet has provided an invaluable space for members of the movement to organize and communicate. Some autistic rights activists believe some characteristics described as being autistic traits are actually misconceptions.
The controversy has erupted on autism e-mail lists, where “curebie” is used as a derogatory term for parents who are portrayed as “slaves to conformity, so anxious for their children to appear normal that they cannot respect their way of communicating”. These parents respond that this attitude shows “a typical autistic lack of empathy by suggesting that they should not try to help their children”. Opinions are divided on the use of a jigsaw-puzzle piece to represent autism, with some parents liking it, and some autistic adults disliking it. Autism is classified by psychologists as a disorder, rather than the variation in functioning preferred by supporters of neurodiversity, with an attendant focus on the burden placed on society in caring for autistic individuals. Autistic children have also been described as being held hostage to a psychiatric disorder.