Our chapters focus on many things, including policy advocacy and civil society advocacy. Other priorities include, but are not limited to, speaking out against offensive ad campaigns, convincing local private programs to make their practices autistic friendly, outreach and community service, recruitment and retention activities, local Autistic community development, and involvement in regional workshops and presentations. Also of importance is reaching out to under-served populations (e.g. newly diagnosed adults, women, homeless individuals, rural residents, etc.)
All ASAN chapters should engage in advocacy work around the collective concept of self-advocacy. ASAN chapters should also address individual forms of self-advocacy, as well as help build a community of Autistic adults in the areas in which they operate.
Different chapters are formed under different conditions. Some may be formed by Autistics who are already part of an existing self-advocate run social group but wish to engage in advocacy activities as well. Others may be formed by Autistics who lack any social group in their local area, or who lack any self-advocate run groups.
The goal of advocacy is to help advance and protect the Autistic community’s interests in matters affecting the Autistic community.
Examples of advocacy/social change activities include:
- Alliances with other organizations to promote policy or social change
- Legislative testimonies
- Letters to the Editor/Op-eds
- Meetings with legislators
Social/support/Autistic culture activities are geared toward building a strong, vibrant, welcoming, inclusive, and helpful community among Autistics. These community-building activities include:
- Autistic Pride Day events with a purely social component
- Cooperative efforts around skills development in employment/education/etc.
- Mentoring teenagers
- Social activities (e.g. picnics, movie nights, or joining a function put on by the broader local disability community)
If you are interested in joining a chapter, please refer to our directory of chapters posted below to find out if there is a chapter that meets in your area. Do you have a strong grasp of disability rights, self-advocacy, and neurodiversity, and feel that you have time to lead a new ASAN chapter? Or do you have questions about our chapters? If so, write to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
ASAN Chapters in the United States
Chapter Leader: Mark Romoser
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Chapter Leader: Yosef Treitman
Chapter Leaders: Emily Titon and Andrew Collins