An Autistics Guide To Corporate Social Responsibility

I want to reiterate that these are my own views and do not necessarily reflect the views of others.

You’ve probably noticed that my blog has critiqued certain sponsorships that I have found troublesome. I wanted to come up with something that would be a good, sharable reference point.

One :: Imagery & Colour Usage

If you want to create a favourable first impression, utilizing a puzzle piece and/or blue immediately raises red flags. Firstly, the image and colour combination evokes negative thoughts of Autism Speaks, which is known for their harmful PSAs, “Cure” culture and questionable distribution of funds. Secondly, The puzzle piece implies that there is something is missing or needs fixing.

Two :: Words/Terminology

When Autism is used as a negative or scare tactic, that is not considered to be favourable.

I  recently read the side of a case of beer and was appalled at the copy.

“Affected by Autism”, “have Autism” and my interaction with their social media team interjected the word awareness in to our conversation twice. I have also noticed that they switch from capitalizing Autism to not capitalizing it. There is no consistency. Other promotions have also used words like “hope” which is demeaning and not at all empowering.

Three :: Transparency

In reference to the case of beer, they mention things like “Autism now affects 1 in 68 children with boys being four times more likely to have autism than girls.  It is the fastest growing developmental disorder with 1% of the world’s population affected by Autism.” without citing any sources. They have also said “…remains dedicated to supporting Autism research in Canada.  Since 2012 more than $600,000 has been raised and donated towards better understanding Autism and how to effectively diagnose and treat the condition.” – this time they have left out exactly WHO is running this research. They have also failed to provide the information of what would be an effective way to diagnose and treat the condition.

Four :: Representation and consultation

When running a promotion: REPRESENTATION matters. Most of the companies I have reached out to have been individuals at the top of the business with an Autistic child. I have had some really negative interactions with affluent parents pledging money to Autism Speaks, business owners who run AUTISM AWARENESS promotions with a portion of the funds going to different organizations and companies running contests where they not only hire a non-Autistic artist, but they utilize the harmful imagery I mentioned in section 1.

If you want to do right by Autistic people, go on to twitter and search #ActuallyAutistic to see the voices of Autistics. You can also look up Neurodiversity and Neurodiversity consulting. You’ll find yourself someone who is incredibly qualified: an Autistic person.

It’s so important to embrace what Autistic people have to offer and this is the proper way of doing so – instead of creating a very offensive campaign.

Five :: Responding to Customer complains

If someone complains to you, instead of explaining yourself immediately, please listen. Please pledge to change and give ways you plan on improving the campaign if you choose to run it again. Understand that yes, if you have an Autistic child that they will grow in to an Autistic adult–We are some of your greatest resources. Don’t talk down to us. Don’t lessen our complaints with ableist speak. Listen. Commit to change.

Six :: Suggestions

A few things a business can do:

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Sippin’ hot drinks!

I have been enjoying a lot of hot chocolate and teas while frantically entering Christmas contests. It’s that time of year again and it happens to be one of my most enjoyable hobbies. Seriously. I do this…!

I did some more background work on film where I was dressed up all 80s and it was WILD. I didn’t realize my hair could get that big.

I also was featured on GEEK CLUB BOOKS and they’ve been so kind to post me on their social channels. I would love if you could read the article here: https://geekclubbooks.com/2018/11/impactful-blogs-navigating-life/

Lastly, I actually drew something that conveys my hyper-awareness & anxiety all at the very same time: 

I have been thinking of some articles i would like to write so i’m just kind of waiting for that BURST of creativity to hit me so I can get it done. I haven’t neglected my blog. I always fear people are going to think i’ve abandoned it. That’s just not the case.

If you care about Autistic people….

…then you wouldn’t support Autism Speaks. April is the CRUELEST MONTH. Get prepared to go #RedInstead

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” Autistic burnout is real guys and i’m feeling it real bad.”

I tweeted this out yesterday and I am still feeling the same way today.

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Explaining it to people is devastatingly hard. I commend the attempt at understanding but unless you’ve experienced it yourself, you never know. For me, the exhaustion kicks in, both mentally and physically. The light sensitivity happens and being able to see gets increasingly difficult. Trying to be social is virtually impossible and continues to drain energy that is barely left. I get goosebumps, I physically look ‘drained’. My attempt at tasks that require my fine motor skills becomes a course in ‘how many times can I fail?’

Autistic burnout isn’t a made up thing- I just wish it was easier to explain to people. It’s not an excuse and it’s not like I consciously (or unconsciously) decided to be perceived as lazy or unreliable. There’s such thing as ‘too much’ and I feel as though that’s where i’m at.

This happens to me, and i’ve documented it before: