Avery Outlaw, Interim Executive Director
Avery Outlaw is ASAN’s Deputy Director of Operations. While studying Disability Studies and Advocacy, Avery was president and founder of the neurodiversity student group and advocacy chair for the disability student group, in addition to planning and coordinating a program for incoming neurodivergent students at the College of William & Mary.
Zoe Gross, Director of Advocacy
Zoe Gross is Director of Advocacy at Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Previously, she worked as a special assistant at the Administration for Community Living, and as a policy analyst on Senator Tom Harkin’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee staff. In 2012, Zoe created the annual Disability Day of Mourning vigil, a national, cross-disability event which commemorates the lives of disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers. She received a White House Champions of Change award for this work in 2013.
Larkin Taylor-Parker, Legal Director
R. Larkin Taylor-Parker is the Legal Director of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and an openly autistic attorney licensed in North Carolina. Larkin earned a B.A. in history at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia in 2014. They focused on the history of mental health and developmental disability and institutionalization during their undergraduate degree and engaged in extracurricular speaking, writing, and organizing on autism and neurodiversity issues. They then attended the University of Georgia School of Law, becoming an Autistic Scholars Fellow in 2016 and graduating with a J.D. in 2017. Before joining ASAN, Larkin worked at the North Carolina Protection and Advocacy System. Larkin’s professional interests include promoting the autonomy of disabled people, alternatives to guardianship, equal access to society under the ADA, health equity for all people with disabilities, and ensuring that efforts to enhance disability rights and disability justice serve multiply-marginalized people. Larkin works remotely from their home in Smithfield, North Carolina and enjoys sewing, DIY projects, and playing the tuba.
Greg Robinson, Deputy Director of Public Policy
Greg Robinson is the Deputy Director of Public Policy at ASAN’s national office. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to ASAN, he worked in community program development around housing and community health for underserved communities in Philadelphia as an Americorps VISTA, and in inclusive career development and employment supports for undergraduate students as a graduate assistant at Drexel University. His passion in policy centers around the intersections of social determinants of health in marginalized communities.
Ianthe Belisle Dempsey, Media Manager
Ianthe (ee-awn-tay) is an Autistic self-advocate living in Chicago. She has been an outspoken anti-oppression activist for the past decade and has a degree in theatre/film studies and Russian history from Illinois State University. Their work centers on using technology, design, and language to increase visual and cognitive accessibility of both print and digital resources. Ianthe has had pink hair for the past 14 years and has had extremely strong opinions on fonts and typography for even longer. She has no intention of changing either of those anytime soon.
Noor Pervez, Community Engagement Manager
Noor Pervez is the Community Engagement Coordinator at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. He previously led his campus LGBT+ advocacy group, Rainbow Guard, and gave a number of talks regarding intersectionality. His previous work centered on exploring the intersections of disability, LGBT+ and religious issues. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in Emerging Media and Communications.
Jean Winegardner, Office Manager
Jean Winegardner is the Office Manager at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s DC office. She is an Autistic mom to three delightfully neurodivergent children, who brought her into the world of disability advocacy as she learned about what they need and want out of life. She is passionate about furthering acceptance and embrace of disabled children and adults. Jean has a master’s degree in print journalism from the University of Southern California. She and her husband live in Maryland. She enjoys movies, reading, running, and small, amusing rodents.
Dean Strauss, Communications Manager
Alex Grandstaff, Programs Manager
Alex Grandstaff is ASAN’s Programs Coordinator. A writer turned MSW, they have lived and worked in Texas and Missouri. They have over a decade of experience in LGBTQ+ advocacy that pushes for the inclusion of queer and trans disabled people. They’re particularly passionate about work that addresses the way broader systems of oppression follow us home to contribute to interpersonal violence and ways we can break these toxic patterns to build supportive, healthy relationships with one another. A serial hobbyist, they’ve taught themselves book binding, candlemaking, and to sew their own clothes and learned soldering and leatherwork from their mother who is a jewelry artist.
AJ Link, Policy Analyst
AJ Link (he/him) is openly autistic. He received his JD from The George Washington University Law School and his LL.M in Space Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law. He is the inaugural director of The Center for Air and Space Law Task Force on Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Aerospace and an adjunct professor of space law at Howard University School of Law. AJ is the Communications Director for Mission: AstroAccess and works as a research director for the Jus Ad Astra project. He serves as the Space Law and Policy Chair for Black in Astro and was the founding president of the National Disabled Law Students Association. AJ is a policy analyst for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. He has been actively involved with disability advocacy in the Washington, DC area and nationally within the United States. He serves on several advisory boards and steering committees that focus on disability advocacy and broader social justice movements.
Donnie Denome, Inclusive Publications and Research Coordinator
Donnie TC Denome is ASAN’s Publications Associate. They hold a Master’s of Public Health degree from Claremont Graduate University. Previously, Donnie worked as a journalist, a peer health educator, a freelance technical writer, and a museum docent. Their area of interest and expertise within public health is health education and harm reduction for adults with intellectual, communication, and developmental disabilities. They have a passion for Easy Read and Plain Language writing, equitable access to health care, and brightly patterned clothing.
Reid Caplan, Accessible Policy Coordinator
Reid Caplan (they/them) is the Accessible Policy Coordinator at ASAN, where they work on making research and policy more accessible using plain language and easy read. As an advocate and researcher, they focus on participatory action-based, cognitively accessible projects that promote community inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They received a Master’s degree in Social Policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University, and a Bachelor’s degree in Health and Society from Beloit College.
Jules Good, Programs Coordinator
Jules Good (they/them) is the Programs Coordinator at ASAN. Previous roles include Assistant Director of Not Dead Yet, Deputy Disability Engagement Director for Stacey Abrams’ 2022 campaign, and Communications Access Specialist at Northeast Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services. Jules is also the founder and consulting lead at Neighborhood Access, which works with organizations to help them make their presence and practices more accessible to disabled communities. They live in Newmarket, New Hampshire.
Nina Stoller, Policy Coordinator
Nina Stoller is the Policy Coordinator for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. They hold a Bachelor’s degree in American Culture Studies, with a concentration in public policy and a minor in mathematics, from Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to ASAN, Nina was a Policy Fellow with the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network, a Legal Fellow with the Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy, & Innovation, an advocacy aide in support of a disabled adult, a researcher at a think tank, and an administrator for a nonprofit. Nina is fueled by the fight for justice, community, and collective liberation.
Katherine Crater, Media Associate
Katherine is a Media Associate at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. She graduated in fall of 2022 with a BFA in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. The main programs she works with are Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and Final Cut Pro. She also likes to sketch and draw.
Elias Bouderdaben, Grassroots Associate
Eli Bouderdaben is the Grassroots Associate at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. As a biracial and neuroscopious nonbinary individual, they have over a decade’s worth of experience in community organizing and building safe(r) queer Muslim spaces. They currently live on occupied and unceded Piscataway and Nacotchtank lands.
Mar Zapanta-Rosales, Communications Associate
Mar Zapanta-Rosales is the Communications Associate at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Mar has had an unconventional career trajectory, ranging from union organizing to baking to ASAN. As a multiply marginalized individual (fat, queer, gender nonconforming, mixed race, chronically ill, neurodivergent), Mar strives to bring a liberatory mindset to any space they are in, always working towards a more just, inclusive, and accessible future. In their free time, Mar can be found listening to podcasts, oscillating between serious political podcasts like Death Panel and extremely unserious comedy podcasts like Comedy Bang Bang and Doughboys.
Ari Ne’eman, ASAN’s interim Board Chair, is the co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and served as its President from 2006 to 2016. He is currently a PhD Candidate in Health Policy at Harvard University and a Visiting Scholar at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University. He previously served as one of President Obama’s appointees to the National Council on Disability from 2010 to 2015 and as a public member of the Department of Health and Human Services’s Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee and the Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment of People with Disabilities.
Hari Srinivasan, ASAN’s Board Vice Chair, is a minimally-speaking autistic who types communicate. He learned to type and thus communicate only at age 13. The ability to communicate opened up access to mainstream education allowing him to transition from the special education straight into the mainstream academics world of Algebra, Biology and Shakespeare which he thoroughly relished and graduated as valedictorian from his high school. Srinivasan loves to write and has won many writing awards for his essays and creative writing like poetry, including a National Gold Medal Medal from Scholastic which he received at Carnegie Hall and was subsequently published by Scholastic.
Srinivasan is currently pursuing psychology at UC Berkeley with a minor in Disability Studies. He is a member of the Psi Chi Honor Society. Srinivasan hopes to pursue research such that it will benefit and improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities like him. He has been honing his research skills as a research assistant at the Hinshaw lab and currently at the Golden Bear Mood and Sleep Research Clinic as well as the Nakamura Disability Lab. Ultimately he would like to work with non-profits, national/international organizations or think tanks while pursuing his love of writing.
At UC Berkeley, Srinivasan is a senior staff writer at the Daily Californian which is the newspaper on record for both the city of Berkeley and for the university. His work has included a weekly column on Autism and covers both disability and non-disability issues. Srinivasan has also been the lead student instructor for a faculty-sponsored semester-long 1-unit course on autism since spring 2019. He is constantly looking to drive the curriculum to expand the way 25 neurotypical students each semester will come to regard autism and all the issues around it. Srinivasan is a board member for the student organization, Spectrum At Cal, which works towards community volunteering and campus autism awareness program. Srinivasan is also actively involved with other disability organizations on campus.
Srinivasan is a 2019 alum of ASAN’s Campus Inclusion program where he learned about autistic identity and disability justice. He highly encourages other college-going autistics to apply for the program.
Sarah Pripas-Kapit, ASAN’s Board Treasurer, is an author of books for young readers. Her first two books, Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! and The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family, were published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Sarah’s work prominently features autistic girls and other characters with disabilities. Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! was named a 2020 Schneider Family Honor title for representation of people with disabilities and received multiple starred reviews in trade publications. Chicago Public Library named it one of the best middle-grade books of 2020.
Since 2016, Sarah has served as Chairperson of the Association for Autistic Community, a nonprofit organization that organizes in-person retreats for autistic people. Sarah has been involved with the autistic community in some capacity since 2006. In her fiction, Sarah wants to bring the principles of the neurodiversity and disability rights movements to young readers. In her capacity as an author, Sarah mentors aspiring authors. She is particularly interested in helping disabled writers and others from marginalized communities to break into the industry.
Sarah holds a PhD in History from the University of California Los Angeles, where she also received a Graduate Certificate in Gender Studies. She has written about the intellectual history of the neurodiversity movement.
Meg Evans, ASAN’s Board Secretary, is employed in the legal publishing industry with LexisNexis and lives in the Dayton, Ohio area. She received her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and her B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Meg is married and has two grown children. She enjoys sculling and competes in regattas; her favorite event is rowing the mixed double with her husband. She currently serves as the webmaster for the Greater Dayton Rowing Association.She belongs to a multigenerational Autistic family and envisions a world in which respect for human rights and diversity can flourish. Among her interests, she has long found it fascinating to explore how our cultural narratives change over time and shape the development of social structures and expectations. Meg has written many articles for ASAN’s websites and publications. Her stories and musings on modern life can be found on her personal blog at http://megevans.com and include Nurturing Thursday posts, with a focus on self-nurturing and positive energy.
Samantha (Sam) Crane is the Legal Director for Quality Trust. She oversees Quality Trust’s legal advocacy activities, including the Jenny Hatch Justice Project and National Resource Center for Supported Decisionmaking (NRCSDM). Prior to joining Quality Trust she was the Legal Director at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), where she advocated for a range of policies including increased access to supported decision-making, community-based services, and health care, as well as freedom from seclusion and restraint. Sam also previously served as a staff attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, focusing on enforcing the right to community integration as established by the Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C., and an associate at the litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart, & Sullivan, L.L.P., where she focused on patent and securities litigation. Sam is a graduate of Harvard Law School with over a decade of experience in legal advocacy for people with disabilities.
Autistic self-advocacy became organized in the 1990s as a part of the disability rights movement. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network was founded in 2006 in response to the lack of representation of autistic voices in the national dialogue on autism, and became widely known in December 2007 after a successful letter-writing protest campaign led to the removal of the “Ransom Notes” billboards in New York City, which had compared autism to a kidnapper snatching children from society.
Our founders believed that in order for autistic people and all people with disabilities to enjoy equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency – the four goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act – we needed representation wherever issues that impacted on our lives were under discussion. ASAN was started by autistic adults who were unhappy with the prevailing public dialogue on autism, believing that the autism world would be better served by ending the misguided search for a “cure” and focusing on empowering and supporting autistic people and all people with disabilities to live the lives we wanted.
From 2006 to 2010, ASAN grew as an all-volunteer organization, developing an initial chapter network and a national profile by standing up to those who talked about autism without autistic people. In January 2011, we acquired 501c3 tax-exempt status and our first grants, leading to the hiring of our first staff members and the establishment of our main office in Washington, DC. Today, ASAN’s activities are diverse and broad ranging, including not only advocacy but also programming in leadership development, technical assistance, employment opportunities, publications, community based participatory research, public policy analysis and education and other efforts to help inform decision-makers and the public about the autism spectrum and the perspectives of those on it.
ASAN also plays a critical role in the broader disability rights movement. While we are an organization run by and for autistic people, we believe strongly in cross-disability advocacy and organizing. As a result, most of our policy work and a significant percentage of our organizing and technical assistance activities are focused more broadly on people with disabilities in general or on the community of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). We believe strongly in the values of cross-disability collaboration and have significant partnerships with other self-advocate controlled organizations as well as parent and provider organizations with whom we share common interests.
ASAN was incorporated as a New Jersey nonprofit organization in November 2006 and was an all-volunteer group for the next four years. In January 2011, our application for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status was approved, and we began receiving grants and hiring staff. Our national office is located in Washington DC.