As two autistic and disabled individuals, higher education has often left us feeling isolated, alone, and without a community that understands us. Over the last few years, we have been working towards building neurodivergent- and disability-led spaces, such as the UC Davis Aggie Neurodiversity Community and Disabled in Higher Education, which can help alleviate the loneliness and misunderstanding disabled people like us often feel while at college. All of our success would not be possible without the contributions of organizations like the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) and the generous contributions of its supporters.
In summer 2021, we both attended ASAN’s Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) Leadership Academy that seeks to teach autistic students how to make their college campuses more accessible and inclusive for disabled people. ACI not only helped us gain leadership skills and consolidate our future advocacy goals, but also provided us with tools to consider how we could ensure our own meeting spaces were truly welcoming for all disabled people, including those with multiple marginalizations and various access needs. We wanted to pass on what we had learned to other autistic and disabled individuals, and with ASAN’s permission, we held an ACI debrief presentation. We firmly believe that ACI is a vital education for budding advocates and activists.
We are grateful for the skills and resources ASAN has provided us. We frequently share many of the resources ASAN has created in our advocacy work and with our community members. We often use their One Idea Per Line: A Guide to Making Easy Read Resources in generating content that is accessible and inclusive for all members of our communities.
We are excited to see what the next year brings us in terms of the growth of our communities and our advocacy alongside ASAN’s work and the greater autistic and disability communities. We would like to ask if you could contribute to continue the great work of ASAN, including the ACI program. Please help us ensure that ASAN’s incredible work continues via a monetary donation or sharing their resources with others.
Thank you for the continued support.
Erica Mineo & Ava Gurba