It is a surprise to many that “autism advocacy” is a highly divided realm, and that organizations who are very vocal and visible about their advocacy are actually seen as working against the interests of actual autistic people. It is also a surprise to many people that autistic people can, and in fact do, advocate for themselves. Autistic self-advocacy is a dynamic, growing realm, speaking for autistic rights, needs, and dignity based on real lived experiences.
We are relative newcomers to the world of autistic self-advocacy, since Danny only gained extensive communication a year ago. With his ability to share his insights as he learns more and more about autistic advocacy, and his growth into a staunch, passionate autistic self-advocate, we have all become more confident in diving into this world as allies eager to learn and support where appropriate.
For those new to this idea of autistic self-advocacy, we want to highlight the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, or ASAN, as our featured resource for the month. ASAN is run by and for autistic folks. The guiding motto? “Nothing about us, without us.”
This is the group to pay attention to, rather than the very well-known but oppressive and ableist group Autism Speaks. On the ASAN site, you’ll find toolkits, guides, information resources, and articles on autistic and intersectional issues, including current events and campaigns, and their Twitter feed is a steady source of thought-provoking and educational messages and links.