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Discord vs. awareness

| Sunday, March 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Discord vs. awareness

In response to the letter “Help autism locally” (March 22 and TribLIVE.com) by Jen Forsyth, Autism Center of Pittsburgh fundraising director: My husband and I have two children, both diagnosed with autism. They have received a variety of services for the past 11 years and we are grateful to all of the agencies and organizations that have helped our family. We have also been volunteers for Autism Speaks for eight years (I am a 2013 Pittsburgh Walk for Autism Speaks chair).

It breaks my heart when someone talks down this organization, which has done so much to promote research, public policy, awareness and community services. It is especially troubling when someone does this in the name of autism awareness, when all it does is sow seeds of discord within our community.

To be clear, Autism Speaks supports local initiatives through a variety of grants, and in Pittsburgh, we have quarterly service provider meetings. These meetings bring our community together to learn from and support one another as we build a better world for all people with autism.

How one spends one's own money is a personal choice, but it should not be presented as supporting either local or national groups. There is plenty of overlap, and for many of us, that support is both local and national.

Ellen Cicconi

North Strabane

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