"The NAS is aware of a campaign video called "I Am Autism", produced by the US charity Autism Speaks.
While we understand the huge pressure many families are under, we cannot support a campaign that is so negative in its portrayal of autism. We strongly believe that people with autism make a unique and valuable contribution to society.
Autism is a serious and lifelong condition. For many families and individuals affected by autism, we know that life can be extremely difficult, especially when they are not getting appropriate support. However, the right help at the right time can make an enormous difference. It is crucial that this support is available for all who need it."
And this is what Hilary Gilfoy the Chief Exec of Autism Speaks UK has to say:
“Autism Speaks in the UK is a quite separate and independent entity from Autism Speaks in the United States and took no part in the preparation of I am Autism, which reflects a view of autism which is very different – and alien - to the feelings of the majority of people in the UK including ourselves. As an organisation therefore we do not share, endorse or advocate the views expressed in it. Indeed we expressed our dislike of the poem by Billy Mann directly to him when he was in London last May.
The best way for autistic advocates to help secure change in such attitudes is by putting their views directly to Autism Speaks in the United States – as we have done. We know that they are aware of the strength of feeling that the video has aroused and have responded to this. We think it would be a great pity if this one short film were used to widen divides within the autism community, when we all share a powerful and common interest in ensuring a better future for all those affected by autism. It is for this reason that we have not put any general statement about the video on our website because we have no wish to draw further attention to it.”