Wiki This article is about a person/organisation who is an enemy of the Autistic community and should be ignored.

Cure Autism Now (CAN) described itself as an organization of parents, clinicians and leading scientists committed to accelerating the pace of biomedical research in autism through raising money for research projects, education and outreach. Founded by Jonathan Shestack and Portia Iversen -- parents of a child with autism -- in 1995, the organization grew from a kitchen-table effort to a leading provider of support for autism research and scientific resources. The organization's primary focus is to fund essential research through a variety of programs designed to encourage innovative approaches toward identifying the causes, prevention, treatment and a cure for autism and related disorders.

Since its founding, Cure Autism Now has committed more than $39 million in research, the establishment and ongoing support of the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE), and numerous outreach and awareness activities aimed at families, physicians, governmental officials and the general public.

On Feb. 1, 2007, CAN announced that it was combining operations with Autism Speaks, another highly controversial organization that is disliked by the autistic community.


A wide variety of autistic self-advocates find a "cure" extremely insulting and hurtful, arguing that it is simply eugenics. This is due to the fact that without Autism the individual's personality is destroyed, and without Autism they would not be the same as before. They argue that since autism is not a disease,[1] they do not want a cure [2]. Many people on the spectrum are okay with the way they are,[3] and are able to make important contributions to the world.[4] The web portal has a picture on its home page showing a garbage can full of dead autistic fetuses with Cure Autism Now's initials on it, in front of an abortion clinic with the caption "The real meaning of 'autism prevention'."

The main criticism of Cure Autism Now is that the organization demonizes autistic people, scaring their families and promoting a narrow vision of the ideal mind. The organization has also been criticized for not listening to the experiences of autistic adults.

Dr. Tony Attwood, author of Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, has described the most pervasive problem among autistic adults as being a feeling that their families have rejected them and what they are. Some autistic people and the professionals who work with them feel that Cure Autism Now exacerbates this feeling of rejection.

These advocates do not believe that autistic people do not need therapy, just that a cure is the wrong approach. Self-advocates believe that money should be spent on finding ways to support autistic people throughout their lifespans,[5] rather than forcing on them a cure they never asked for.[6] (This view is both advocated by people who have Asperger's Syndrome and "low-functioning" people such as nonverbal writer Amy Sequenzia.)[7]

Cure Autism Now is another example of an organization about autism that does not consider the input of autistic people.

See also


  1. The Guardian: Autism Is Not a Disease
  2. Aspies for Freedom
  3. Cynthia Kim: Acceptance as a Well Being Practice
  4. New York Times: How About Not "Curing" Us, Some Autistics are Pleading
  5. The Daily Beast: They Don't Want an Autism Cure
  6. Diary of a Mom: Lost in Conflation, Not Autism
  7. Autistic People Protest Autism Speaks

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