Autistica is a large autism charity, based in the UK. It was originally the UK branch of Autism Speaks, though it is no longer affiliated with them, due to the controversy surrounding that charity.

Unfortunately, controversy has followed them. Autistica, along with many other organisations, including Autism Speaks, have invested a huge amount of money in a project called the AIMS-2-TRIALS. This involves genetic testing to better understand autism. They say that this is so they can provide improved medications for those autistic people who would benefit from them – for epilepsy, for instance. Those who are against this kind of research are concerned that genetic testing reinforces the idea that autism is a disorder that needs to be cured, removed. They worry too that there will be a test developed so that pregnant women can screen for it – again, implying that autism is something to be afraid of and to avoid.

Autistica argue that this research would have gone ahead without them if they had refused to contribute and that at least by investing in it they have some control in the direction the research takes.

Like so many controversies, this is far more complicated than I am able to summarise here as there are multiple arguments on both sides. Click here for Autistica’s reasoning, and here for a complex and thoughtfully debated article from the thinking person’s guide to autism¬†website. This claims that genetic research has already led to a ban on autistic sperm donors for IVF in a UK sperm bank in 2016.