ASAN December Newsletter
2022 is nearly here! Thank you for spending 2021 with us, fighting for a better world for the whole disability community. During the course of this year, you’ve seen how your continued support keeps our organization going. We’ve sent you updates about our events and campaigns, urgent action alerts, new resources, and plenty of information on how to join our fight for disability rights. We have big plans to keep up the fight in the coming year and beyond.
Unfortunately, some of our most important fights this year won’t end on a high note. ASAN is outraged at the DC Circuit’s refusal to reconsider a court ruling that allows the Judge Rotenberg Center to continue using electric shocks on disabled people. ASAN calls on the FDA to do whatever it takes to reinstate a ban by immediately reintroducing a new rule that would address the court’s concerns while effectively banning these devices. Our community has fought long and hard to end the Judge Rotenberg Center’s torture of disabled people. ASAN will continue to collaborate with state and federal policymakers, including the FDA, to end all forms of abuse against disabled people. We will not rest until no disabled person is subjected to torture in the name of “treatment.”
ASAN also responded to the Lancet Commission’s recommendation to establish “profound autism” as a classification. Self-advocates with intellectual disabilities and AAC users have long spoken out against the harm caused by functioning labels like “severe autism” or “low-functioning” autism; this new proposed term is no different. Instead of rehashing old, harmful arguments about functioning labels, we should focus on improving the services available to all autistic people — which is what the majority of the Lancet Commission report is actually about.
We’re still fighting for the inclusion of the largest federal investment in home- and community-based services (HCBS) in the Build Back Better Act. With so much at stake for our community, we’re not giving up on this desperately needed bill. There is still a way forward, but your Senators need to hear from you! Give them a call today.
This month, ASAN also released a statement regarding the updated autism diagnosis numbers. ASAN is not surprised to see the diagnosis rate increase. We believe this increase reflects better recognition and diagnosis of autism across the U.S. We expect that diagnosis rates will continue to rise as we work to address diagnostic disparities and improve access to diagnosis and support. The results of this report also make clear the need for improved study of rates of autism diagnosis in adults. While improvements in early diagnosis are important, substantial disparities remain, especially for autistic people of color.
December also brought new and exciting developments. We released our final toolkit of the year, “For Whose Benefit?” about autistic peoples’ perspectives on the ethics and purpose of autism interventions. It explains the ethical problems at the heart of the most popular autism intervention, applied behavioral analysis (ABA), as well as the lack of evidence to support ABA. “For Whose Benefit?” gives initial ethical guidance on what’s helpful and harmful in autism services and research in three formats: an academic version, an Easy Read version, and a Plain Language version. You can find them all here.
Also new this month is an addition to our accessible COVID-19 materials! COVID-19 keeps changing, but one thing that remains the same is the need for accessible information about what we can do to keep safe. There are now COVID-19 variants, or different kinds of the COVID-19 virus, some of which can spread more easily than the original virus. That’s why we have released this video and fact sheet in English and Spanish about the COVID-19 Delta Variant and other variants.
Help ASAN get ready for 2022 by taking our annual survey! We’re excited to hear from you about what issues matter to you and what you’d like to see from us.
While we’re getting ready to ring in 2022, there’s still time to support ASAN through your end-of-year giving. When you pledge your support, you’re empowering disabled people to harness our power and be a part of the ongoing fight for our rights. Thank you for making our work possible!
With warm wishes for the new year,
The team at ASAN
|Our policy team had a busy month to wrap up the year! Here’s an update of what we have going on behind the scenes: