Abigail Gray Swartz is the artist-in-residence for the Motherlode section at the New York Times, where my essay about Autism Speaks was published last June. She kindly sent me the illustration she did for the piece. It's very cool, but as a picture without the story, it can also give the wrong impression that I'm supporting the blue puzzle piece.
|Image description: Two ice cream cones, one of which has the Autism Speaks puzzle piece on it.|
"Well, no, but my son has Down syndrome. You know about Autism Speaks?" I said.
He said, "My nephew has autism and we did a walk." Autism Speaks sponsors a lot of fundraising and awareness walks.
I said, "I'm a journalist and I focus on disability issues. This is a piece of art that illustrated a piece I wrote for the New York Times that was critical of Autism Speaks. They aren't my favorite organization."
He got serious. "Tell me."
I said, "Well, they talk about autistic people as if they are missing, their families destroyed. Is your nephew's family destroyed?"
He said, laughing, "No!"
And so we talked some more about my critique of AS. I gave him a reference to the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and my card, and said he or his family could get in touch with me any time.
And our couch looks fabulous.