Autism Speaks, which calls itself the largest autism advocacy organization in the country, ran a full-page “Autism Awareness Day” ad in The Wall Street Journal on April 2, asking individuals to light up their homes, businesses, schools, places of worship and websites in blue to “shine a light on autism”; donate $10 to Autism Speaks; and sign a petition for the government to create a national plan to address autism.
A national full-page ad in The Journal costs $185,000.
In addition to the enormous energy cost of this light-up surge, turning on all the blue lights in the United States is not going to help a single person living with autism progress from point A to point B.
We parents and families living with autistic sons and daughters have long known what they need — namely, a continuum of appropriate service options that address their individual needs, and the right to choose those service options we feel are most appropriate for each of them.
One hundred eighty-five thousand dollars for a newspaper advertisement. Local contributors might think of this the next time an Autism Speaks fundraising walk descends upon our town. Would not an area hands-on charity or service provider be a wiser choice for your donated time and money?
Daniel A. Torisky
The writer is president of the Autism Society of Pittsburgh and secretary of the Autism Society of Pennsylvania.