ASAN April Newsletter
As we wrap up another Autism Acceptance Month, we are honored and grateful to be a part of celebrating autistic culture and community. Acceptance is an action, and we’re here to help you take that action every day, even when Autism Acceptance Month is over. Whether that’s through accessible resources so everyone can understand information about issues that affect their lives or action alerts to provide key information and advocacy scripts, we work to give autistic people the tools we need for self-advocacy.
We commemorated the 10th anniversary of Autism Acceptance Month with a statement recognizing the real progress the autistic community has made towards changing the conversation about autism, and calling on autism organizations led by non-autistic people to better serve and represent our community. There is more to be done, and words must translate into action. As autistic self-advocates have said from the beginning, we must move beyond acceptance — to representation, celebration, and liberation. One of the things we highlighted in this statement was that autistic and disability advocates must make anti-racism a core part of our work, including by working to end police violence. We spoke again about this important work after the conviction of Derek Chauvin. Like many of our community members, we were relieved to see Chauvin convicted for George Floyd’s murder. But justice cannot be reached with one verdict — we must work toward justice by transforming our society to end the ongoing crisis of anti-Black police violence that presents a daily threat to so many of our community members.
We continue to work in all areas of policy to create a more accepting society for autistic people. This month, we welcomed legislation to end the subminimum wage and discriminatory employment practices. If passed, the Transformation to Competitive Integrated Employment Act (TCIEA) would end the 14(c) program that allows employers to pay disabled employees less than minimum wage for their work, creating new opportunities to help us get and keep real jobs with real pay. We also shared a new action alert including scripts that you can use to call on your Members of Congress to get TCIEA passed — and a new resource you can use in your advocacy! Our new Easy Read toolkit, Sharing Your Story For a Political Purpose, includes tips and templates you can use to advocate about whatever policy issues matter most to you.
We also hosted a screening of the film “Loving Lampposts” followed by a panel discussion about how neurodiversity and the neurodiversity movement has changed over the past decade. Originally released in 2011, Loving Lampposts tells the story of autistic adults and children, parents, and professionals who come to embrace the neurodiversity movement. The panel featured the creator of the film and several members of our community. You can relive it here!
As we celebrate Autism Acceptance Month and speak up for our community, we are reminded that when we advocate together, we can change policy — and people’s lives — for the better. We’re honored to advocate alongside all of you all year round.
Director of Advocacy
Autistic Self Advocacy Network