I am a longtime fan of yours. My children have also become fans of yours since your CD, We Shall Overcome, is on regular rotation at our house. Because of you, my son knows all the words to Old Dan Tucker and can sing them too. This means a great deal to me because, you see, my son has autism and has a great difficulty speaking. But he can sing Old Dan Tucker.
I am writing to you because it has come to my attention that you plan to perform in support of Autism Speaks. Please, Mr. Springsteen,reconsider. There are many ways that you can benefit the autism community that do not involve supporting an organization that portrays children like my son in such a negative light. How we choose to talk about and portray people with autism is vitally important. When Oliver first received a diagnosis I did what many parents do: I turned to the
internet. Unfortunately, the images portrayed in the media -- including those created by Autism Speaks -- paint a very bleak,frightening picture. Consequently, the time after the diagnosis was a very bleak and frightening time for our family and it remained so until I found other words and other images, images of hope and
optimism and acceptance. These are the words that are important and these are the messages that will make a difference to individuals with autism and their families.
Mr. Springsteen, I hope you hear from many parents that feel as I do and I hope you will hear our words. Autism Speaks does not speak for my family!
I was alerted to this upcoming benefit over here.
If you agree with these sentiments, you can also send a note letting Mr. Springsteen know how you feel, to: firstname.lastname@example.org
It's too late to do anything about that awful Autism Speaks video but maybe we can still send them a powerful message.