Marking 15 Years, Autism Speaks Rebrands
The nation’s largest autism advocacy group is revamping its look to better match its evolving mission and launching an effort to “create a kinder, more inclusive world” for those on the spectrum.
As Autism Speaks celebrates its 15th anniversary, the group said it is kicking off a “Year of Kindness” campaign, which aims to inspire 1 million acts of kindness by the end of 2020.
With the campaign, the nonprofit is asking people to take a pledge on its website to do an act of kindness and to document such actions on social media. Actions can be big or small — helping out a friend with autism, volunteering or simply sharing a kind message — the group said.
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“Central to our mission is increasing global understanding and acceptance of people with autism. That’s why our birthday wish is to make 2020 a year filled with good deeds that contribute to a kinder inclusive world,” said Angela Geiger, president and CEO of Autism Speaks.
The campaign is getting underway as Autism Speaks debuts a new logo and branding that the group says is meant to better reflect the diversity of experiences of those on the autism spectrum.
Most notably, the nonprofit’s iconic puzzle piece is no longer just blue. Instead, it now incorporates a range of colors.
“Over the years, we have heard from the vast and diverse autism community — from our supporters to our critics, and from those whose autism is their greatest strength to those for whom autism can be a daily challenge,” Geiger said. “This new look aims to highlight the depth, breadth and infinite differences along the autism spectrum and to show our commitment to listening, evolving and reflecting those we serve.”
Autism Speaks was founded in 2005 as an organization focused on funding research and increasing awareness of autism. The group has faced criticism over the years for some negative depictions of life with autism and its focus on the perspectives of parents.
More recently, the nonprofit removed words like “struggle,” “hardship” and “crisis” as well as all mentions of curing autism from its mission statement and has put increased attention on the needs of adults on the spectrum.
“So much has changed in the world of autism since we were founded,” Geiger said. “With 15 years of momentum and learning behind us, we chose this moment to reintroduce ourselves to the world — recognizing how far we’ve come and stepping into the future with hope, optimism and commitment to addressing the challenges and opportunities within our community.”