The film made in 2006 titled “Autism Every Day” upset many in the autistic community, rightly so. Sponsored by Autism Speaks, the film depicts what they believe is an every day view of a family with an autistic child or children. This film drew backlash for many reasons. The two reasons I will focus on for the backlash are that they did not actually allow someone with autism to speak and they did not depict all the love and beauty autism offers.
The first blog I found is by an autistic who found fault with the film. In his piece, the blogger equates the film and the Autism Speaks organization to a women’s rights organization run exclusively by men. “Doesn’t sound too appealing, does it?” The blogger then proceeds to argue that Autism Speaks does not indeed speak for those with autism. He believes they attempt to gain fame and media attention, yet not for the right reasons. They paired with a so-called “infamous in autism circles” organization called Cure Autism Now. The blogger asks to “get the support we need to live in a sometimes frustrating society, not a cure that is forced on us without our acceptance.”
In addition, the author notes the negative effects of the Singer comment in the film, which I will not repeat. This was a disgusting statement for anyone to make, yet the fact that she did it in front of her child is just “callous,” and the blogger notes that her child was trying to show the mother affect just before this comment was made. How could someone say that, let alone in front of their child? This woman is the vice president of communications and awareness for Autism Speaks, which says a lot about the organization, the blogger notes. Overall, this autistic blogger shows how irresponsible it is for this film to speak to the autistic experience without an autistic person.
The other blog I found was written by a mother of a child with autism. She notes that her autistic child, Bud, would have been very upset by the presence of strangers, cameras, and people taking away his mom’s attention. In addition, it would have stressed him out to hear his mom say all the things he did to stress her out. She suggests it would have been more effective to use hidden cameras, and not intrude on the daily life and routine on the families in order to get an accurate depiction.
Overall, this film did not depict autism “every day” as the title suggests. The film did not include the input of autistics, and did not accurately portray the autistic children, who would have been upset due to the situation they were thrown in. The Autism Speaks organization also does not accurately speak for autistics, as many would like a say in the work done and do not want a cure thrust upon them.