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Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Autistic Self Advocacy Network
ASAN logo
Motto "Nothing About Us, Without Us!"
Founded Template:If empty
Founders Ari Ne'eman and Scott Michael Robertson
Type 501(c)(3) [non-profit]
Focus Public policy
  • Washington, DC
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Method Publications, policy advocacy
Grants and donations
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Mission Autistic self-advocacy and disability rights
Website Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Formerly called
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The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit advocacy organization run by and for individuals on the autism spectrum. ASAN holds that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which Autistic people enjoy the same access, rights, and opportunities as all other people, and that Autistic voices should be included in the national conversation about autism.


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network provides community organizing, self-advocacy support, and public policy advocacy & education for Autistic youth and adults, as well as working to improve the general public's understanding of autism and related conditions. ASAN's mission statement says that Autistic people are equal to everyone else, and important and necessary members of society,[1] a concept called neurodiversity.

As opposed to the medical model of disability, ASAN supports the social model, which holds that negative attitudes and prejudices are the main factor in whether or not people are considered disabled, rather than objective flaws in their bodies or minds.


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network was founded in November 2006 by its current President, Ari Ne'eman, and current Board of Trustees member and Vice Chair of Development, Scott Michael Robertson.

ASAN's early work mostly focused on fighting the use of aversives, restraint, and seclusion in special education;[2][3] in December 2007, they spoke out publicly against Autism Speaks,[4] and against the NYU Child Study Center's Ransom Notes ad campaign, which compared autism, ADHD, OCD, and eating disorders to kidnappers holding children hostage. This counter-campaign[5] put ASAN on the public's radar and has been referred to as the neurodiversity movement's coming of age.[6]

National Branch and Local Chapters

The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network has a national branch in Washington, DC, and numerous chapters across the United States. These chapters' focuses are diverse, but are all somehow focused on collaborative self-advocacy. These chapters often host social groups for Autistic people.

ASAN's chapters sometimes work collaboratively with the national branch on nation-wide projects; an example of this is Day of Mourning, an event on March 1 where local chapters of ASAN, as well as independent groups, host candlelight vigils in remembrance of disabled people murdered by their caregivers.[7]


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network promotes autism awareness and acceptance through public policy initiatives,[8] research reform and cross-disability collaboration, community outreach,[9] college advocacy,[10] publishing,[11][12] and employment initiatives.[13]

ASAN is the Autistic community partner for the Academic Autistic Spectrum Partnership In Research and Education (AASPIRE).[14] The AASPIRE project brings together the academic community and the Autistic community, in a research format called community-based participatory research, to develop and perform research projects relevant to the needs of Autistic adults.

In 2012, ASAN began the annual Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) Summer Institute,[15] a week-long workshop teaching Autistic students to engage in activism and advocacy on their campuses. The Loud Hands Project, a transmedia publishing effort for curating and hosting submissions by Autistic people about voice, has also been active during 2012, in the form of a Kickstarter campaign and an anthology, both founded and organized by Julia Bascom. The anthology Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking was published by ASAN in 2012.[16]

In April 2013, as part of Autism Acceptance Month – a counter-movement against the cure-focused Light It Up Blue and Autism Awareness Month movements – ASAN launched an Autism Acceptance Month web site.[17]

See also


External links