🍁 ASAN September Update 🍁

autumn leaves

ASAN September Newsletter

Dear friend,

Like the fall leaves changing colors, there are plenty of changes happening for us at ASAN and for our community. See what we’ve been up to this month, and what’s ahead this fall.

It is with a mix of gratitude and sadness that we announce the upcoming departure of ASAN’s Executive Director, Julia Bascom, at the end of this year. The ASAN Board will conduct an open search for a new Executive Director; while the search takes place, ASAN’s Deputy Executive Director, Avery Outlaw, will serve as ASAN’s Interim Executive Director. As Julia said in her message to the community, ASAN has come a long way since we were a handful of autistic people in a couple of different states with laptops. ASAN is in a strong position to keep advocating for our community and fighting for a world that is more inclusive for autistic people. We are confident in Avery’s leadership, and we will spend the next three months working to ensure a smooth transition. As we say goodbye to our Executive Director Julia Bascom and prepare for where we’ll go next, we are grateful for our community.

We’re thrilled to celebrate with you all once again at our 2023 Virtual Gala! We hope you’ll join us on Thursday, November 16th to say farewell to our Executive Director Julia Bascom and honor the ways in which we all build networks of support for our communities. We’ll be celebrating our community with our award ceremony featuring remarks from incredible awardees, exciting panels, and words from the folks at ASAN! Don’t wait — grab your tickets today! 

Earlier this month, we celebrated Disability Voting Rights Week and National Voter Registration Day! It’s important that disabled people have a say in the policies that affect us, and that means making sure we can access our right to vote! If you missed National Voter Registration Day, you can still celebrate today! Check to see if you’re registered — and get registered if not — here. While you’re there, make sure to check out our voter resources like How to Vote by Mail, Your Vote Counts: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Voting in the U.S., and VOTE. It’s Your Right: A Guide to the Voting Rights of People with Mental Disabilities!

This month was also the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. ASAN applauded the proposed updates to its Section 504 regulations earlier in the month. These updates are a major opportunity to protect the rights of disabled people and ensure we can access health care and vital services without discrimination. The updates talk about many things important to the disability community, like disability discrimination in health care settings, discrimination against disabled people who need organ transplants or life-saving care, measuring the value of treatment without discriminating against disabled people who can never be “cured,” and much more. ASAN is glad to see Health and Human Services (HHS) take this important step, and we look forward to ensuring the final regulations are as comprehensive and effective as possible. We’ll be sharing ways for you to share your story and tell the federal government why this is so important soon, so keep an eye on our social media!

ASAN is hiring a Development Manager! If you have experience and passion for fundraising, consider becoming a part of the team and helping us advance community-driven disability policy. For more information, including a breakdown of responsibilities and how to apply, see the job posting here.

The weather is sure to start getting colder soon, but our work is only heating up. We’re grateful for your continued support and advocacy as we keep working together for change!

The Team at ASAN

The Policy Team at ASAN is always busy at work, but this fall has brought even more. See what they’ve been up to this September:

  • ASAN signed on to this letter to HHS, urging the Secretary to overrule the NIMHD Advisory Committee’s rejection of the proposal to designate people with disabilities as a Health Disparity Population. On September 26, after consideration of input from the disability community and a review of the science and evidence, people with disabilities were formally designated as a population experiencing health disparities for NIH research.
  • Submitted comments on the research needs of nonspeaking people to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) and to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)
  • ASAN joined other disability rights organizations in a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in strong support of CMS’ proposal to pay for caregiver training services
  • Signed onto a letter about the HOPPS Proposed Rule, specifically to comment on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) proposal to address access to dental surgical services
  • Acknowledged the long-awaited proposed rule which updates, clarifies, and strengthens the implementing regulation for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), the statute that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance or are conducted by a Federal agency
  • ASAN signed a joint letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy pushing for further guidance and related enforcement actions around AI and civil rights law
  • Pushed for critical funding increases to affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs in the fiscal year (FY) 2024 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill
  • Endorsed the Transportation Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act
  • Endorsed the HEADs UP Act, which would make people with developmental disabilities a Special Medically Underserved Population

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A Message From ASAN Executive Director Julia Bascom

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Join us for the 2023 Annual Gala!

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ASAN Comments to the National Institute on Deafness
and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)

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ASAN Applauds Proposed 504 Updates from HHS