Dear Mr. Scarborough,
In answer to your recent statements regarding our community’s concerns.
The International Coalition for Autism and All Abilities is dedicated to the advancement of autistic people and people with other disabilities throughout our communities, by
helping to improve lives through better accessibility, educational advocacy and
charitable efforts across all environments.
The ICAA would like to see you include autistic people’s perspective in your conversations, or monologues about autism.
Mr. Scarborough, autism is not a mental illness. The tragedy in Colorado has
nothing to do with autism, and no one knows what motivation, challenges, disabilities,
or other issues the alleged shooter has.
Has anyone declared that the shooter may be an overly stressed PhD student, or
that he may just be a typical, “normal” guy who committed a crime?
Has anyone suggested the color of his eyes, hair, or skin to be part of this conversation?
Mr. Scarborough, you brought autism into the discussion.
Mr. Scarborough, you said that the killer is probably somewhere on the “autism
scale”, and that it happens more often than we all think.
When you were asked to retract the statements, apologize, or at the very least, have a conversation with the autistic community, you added insult to injury by asserting your feelings, and only adding that perhaps this insult should have been said “more eloquently”.
Further you noted that you are proud of your “work” with Autism Speaks.
Mr. Scarborough, we need to have a conversation, and it is rather urgent that you hear
from the autistic community. With all due respect, no amount of work with an organization that seeks to “cure and prevent” all forms of autism is going to help you gain any perspective from the autistic community.
Autism Speaks is an organization that is invested in marketing and research. Wearing an Autism Speaks arm band or donating a buck does not help improve the lives of autistic people, and it does not shield you from being called upon to have a real dialogue with us, or from responsibility of those comments.
Answering our community’s concerns with a statement like this is further proof of the amount of ignorance we have yet to overcome. By referring to autism as a sad epidemic, you are helping to perpetuate an erroneous view of autism and autistic people.
The ICAA is glad that you say you care about autism. We support you in your quest to learn more. We are encouraged by your sentiments that you hope to see needed supports and services become more accessible to autistic people.
The ICAA hopes that you come to realize that while people do need resources and supports, autism is not a tragic implosion on our world.
It is our hope that you can understand how your recent comments perpetuated some dangerous myths and promoted fear of autistic people.
Coalition for Autism and All Abilities (ICAA)