25 Jan 2009

ACtion for Children: a new film about Dan

I made a video using Bev's improved illustrations.

The Action for Children campaign isn't merely offensive. After all, no one has the right not to be offended. The problem is that it misrepresents autism, portraying it as an external monster to be defeated. The problem is the damage it will do to the self esteem of young autistic people in particular. The problem is the way in which this ad contributes to the mass of misinformation and prejudiced, negative rhetoric about autism in the media and wider society. The problem is, parents of recently diagnosed children will see this advertisement and worry unnecessarily about their children and may be more willing to fall for the false promises of the shamans selling dangerous and expensive, quack autism "treatments."

The comments on our Facebook group, Let's stop "Action for Children" demonising autistic children and on the YouTube page for the "Dan film", speak of the distress and worry this ad is causing autistic people and families with autistic members.

Action for Children seem to have opted to jump on the autism bandwagon, thinking that autism always gets the media interest they seek. They have used the problems of autistic children to raise their profile, but have misrepresented the condition. This is utterly unethical.

As well as the Facebook group, the Autistic Self Advocacy Network have put together an action alert to send a message to Action for Children, their supporter in Parliament, MP Hilary Armstrong and the British Fundraising Standards Board. Unfortunately I wasn't able to sign it as so far it's set up to accept addresses from US residents only. No doubt that will be fixed soon .

Please keep this is mind. Every airing of that ad furthers the potential for damage.


amandaautismx2 said...

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Sharon McDaid said...

Thanks for visiting and your kind words.

The Biologista said...

Having looked at the original, I'm rather surprised at AFC UK. This seems like a very badly misjudged campaign. It suggests that they don't actually understand the nature of autism at all... at any rate, the public seem to be showing their distaste for the ad, at least on YouTube.

Sharon McDaid said...

@Biologista, I am surprised too as they are a huge charity and can afford to do a proper consultation. They didn't check this out properly.

As well as complaints on YouTube, there are 420 people on the Facebook group I only started on Sunday.

Socrates said...

new Dan vid here:


Anonymous said...

Casdok pointed me towards your blog and I'm so glad she did.

My daughter is 9 and autistic but she is also beautiful and incredible and how dare Action for Children use her as a statistic to advertise. I was appalled.

I'm here too, my humble opinion might not count much but with much publicity perhaps we can do something.

Crystal Jigsaw (and Amy) xx

Sharon McDaid said...

@Crystal Jigsaw and beautiful Amy! Thanks for your comment and yes, the opinion of each person might not count but there are many of us and we *are* doing something.

Anonymous said...

hey, joined the facebook group, and sent invites to all my friends and asked them to come on board. So keep going with the good work.
Miche xx

Anonymous said...

What a load of rubbish, it's a good ad get over yourselves.

Sharon McDaid said...

Dear 2nd Anonymous, thank you for taking the time to share your opinion here but I don't think your words will make me re-think my position. In the post, I stated my opinion and give the reasons why I think the ad is problematic. I don't think I'll just "get over" myself 'cause you said so.