Who We Are
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by and for Autistic people. ASAN’s supporters include Autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators and friends. ASAN was created to provide support and services to individuals on the autism spectrum while working to educate communities and improve public perceptions of autism. Our activities include public policy advocacy, community engagement to encourage inclusion and respect for neurodiversity, quality of life oriented research, and the development of Autistic cultural activities. We provide information about autism to the public through a number of different educational, outreach and systems change related projects.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regard to autism. Drawing on the principles of the cross-disability community, ASAN seeks to organize the community of Autistic adults and youth to have our voices heard in the national conversation about us. ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which Autistic people enjoy the same access, rights, and opportunities as all other citizens. We hope to empower Autistic people across the world to take control of our own lives and the future of our common community. Nothing About Us, Without Us!
Autistic self-advocacy became organized in the 1990s as a part of the disability rights movement. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network was founded in 2006 and became widely known in December 2007 after a successful letter-writing protest campaign led to the removal of the “Ransom Notes” billboards in New York City, which had compared autism to a kidnapper snatching children from society. Local chapters formed across the United States and in Canada and Australia. ASAN developed close working relationships with other disability rights groups and became involved in a wide variety of initiatives and projects.
ASAN’s publications available through this website include books on self-advocacy and related topics, as well as reports and brief materials. Through our self-advocacy books, we provide practical advice from Autistic writers on how to effectively deal with various situations. Our reports and policy briefs discuss social issues of importance to the Autistic and disability communities, such as access to services and community living.
Speaking and Consulting
We have established a speaker’s bureau of Autistic adults who are interested in sharing their experiences with others. Our speakers can customize their presentations to meet the specific needs of different audiences, including schools, businesses, and other groups. In addition, we provide consulting services to assist companies and agencies with including Autistic individuals in diversity employment programs and providing workplace accommodations. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
ASAN was incorporated as a New Jersey nonprofit organization in November 2006 and was an all-volunteer group for the next four years. In January 2011, our application for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status was approved, and we began receiving grants and hiring staff. Our national office is located in Washington DC.