When you see an ad in the form of a social media post, newspaper clipping or other form of publication wherein they are asking for “Support” or for the public to “Give” or for “Donations” ask yourself who is really benefiting.
I would like people to take a more proactive approach about who they ‘support’ during Autism Awareness Month or in other words be more aware rather than just read “Awareness”. This is not the first time that I am seeing businesses promoting cups, items and products with the slogan of ‘Supporting Autism’ but they never publicly state how Autism families or individuals are exactly benefiting from the sales of these items. It is not the first year that I have seen people online asking for the public to “Join”, “Support” and in the end buy in and yet not detail how contributing to their brand, product or name helps families directly.
We all hope that contributing to these advertised ventures actually benefit those citizens on the spectrum by having their needs addressed instead of just making a one time event, ‘fun day’ or funding a private institution. The reality is we do not know where the money goes even though it should be clearly shown where thousands of dollars go each year using “Autism”. Here is an example, if someone says they need $1,000 to ‘help’ a child on the spectrum and yet pay themselves that $1,000 and request another $1,000 from the parents under the name “Helping”, is that truly addressing what that child needs or just making it more difficult for financially strained Autism families?
If businesses are going to profit from Autism during Autism Awareness month they have to specify who is going to benefit from their sales and/or donations. Is the money going to someone’s private pocket? Is an organisation benefiting and if so, who? Are Autism families benefiting privately and how exactly?
Autism is not a brand or a theme like Easter or Christmas and if businesses are going to profit from Autism Awareness Month, they should detail how exactly these funds are going to be utilize to help Autism families.
If a business raises for example $100,000 and they state it is benefiting 10 children with Autism… this means 10 children supposedly benefit from $10,000 each. Why not make it benefit 50 children or 100 children instead and reach out a greater number? How are these children selected and how much is given to each child? What about the rest of children?
A common answer is that they say part of their sales will go towards Autism families or organisations. What exact percentage of their sales will go towards them and who are these individuals? These questions are valid and vital for transparency.
I know a lot of you wish to support Autism families. Please ask the relevant questions, and specifically please do not support any venture that does not benefit Autism families directly or businesses who do not specifically answer these very important questions.
Autism Awareness Month should never be an opportunity to profit from the condition of hundreds of individuals using Autism as a theme. It is not a theme or a trendy event. If sales are going to be acquired under the umbrella of Autism Awareness, businesses should specify exactly who is going to benefit from such sales.
It is the right thing to do. Please everyone, be aware.