The Autistic Self Advocacy Network
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About the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network
Mission Statement: The Autistic Self Advocacy Network seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement in the world of autism. Drawing on the principles of the cross-disability community on issues such as inclusive education, community living supports and others, ASAN seeks to organize the community of Autistic adults and youth to have our voices heard in the national conversation about us. In addition, ASAN seeks to advance the idea of neurological diversity, putting forward the concept that the goal of autism advocacy should not be a world without Autistic people. Instead, it should be a world in which Autistic people enjoy the same access, rights and opportunities as all other citizens. Working in fields such as public policy, media representation, research and systems change, ASAN hopes to empower Autistic people across the world to take control of their own lives and the future of our common community. Nothing About Us, Without Us!

Who are we? The Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) is a non-profit organization run by and for Autistic people. ASAN's supporters include Autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, family members, professionals, educators and friends. ASAN was created to provide support and services to individuals on the autism spectrum while working to change public perception and combat misinformation by educating communities about persons on the autism spectrum. Our activities include public policy advocacy, community engagement to encourage inclusion and respect for neurodiversity, quality of life oriented research and the development of Autistic cultural activities and other opportunities for Autistic people to engage with others on the spectrum.

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News Alerts and Organizational Initiatives
Legislation Going to Committee: The Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act (H.R. 4247) is going to be marked up by the House Education and Labor Committee this Thursday, Feb. 4th. More phone calls to representatives are needed immediately to keep the legislation strong. To help, click here. There will be a live webcast from the committee website at 11:00 am Eastern time.

Restraint & Seclusion Legislation National Call-In Day: Join us in a National Call-In Day on Thursday, January 21st to tell your members of Congress to support the Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in Schools Act (H.R. 4247/S.2860) to protect students from abuse in schools. Click here for more information.

Help free autistic youth: ASAN calls on our supporters to help support Zakh Price, an 11 year old Autistic boy charged with assault after resisting inappropriate restraint by school personnel. Click here to learn how to help. Action Alert on School Abuse: ASAN has created an e-mail template on for contacting Congress to ask representatives and senators to co-sponsor the new legislation against abusive restraint and seclusion in schools. Click here to go to the action alert page.

JFAAN Press Release on Restraint and Seclusion: The Justice for All Action Network (JFAAN), a disability rights coalition that includes ASAN, has issued a press release on the proposed federal legislation to protect students with disabilities from inappropriate and abusive use of restraint and seclusion. Click here to learn more.

Volunteers Needed for School Abuse Prevention: Federal bipartisan legislation against dangerous restraint and seclusion in schools will be introduced in a press conference webcast live from at 11:00 AM EST on Wednesday, December 9, 2009. ASAN seeks volunteers to help with our advocacy efforts to pass legislation to protect students; if you are interested, please write to with the subject line "Restraint and seclusion."

Employment Discrimination Testimony: ASAN President Ari Ne'eman addressed the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Justice Civil Rights Division regarding the ADAAA Proposed Regulations and employment discrimination issues of concern to Autistic workers. Click here to read his testimony.

ASAN New England Testimony on Aversives: ASAN New England local activist Sara Willig presented testimony to a Massachusetts legislative committee on the harm done to Autistics and others with disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center, calling for legislative action to ban the use of aversives.

Disability Community Seeks End to Judge Rotenberg Center and Aversives. ASAN has signed a joint letter in which 29 disability rights organizations call for legislation to end the abuse of people with disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center and other institutions. The letter has been sent to several federal agencies and human rights groups.

Disability Community Condemns Autism Speaks: Over 60 national, international, and local disability rights organizations have signed onto a joint letter condemning lack of representation, exploitative and unethical practices by Autism Speaks. Individual signatories can show their support by signing this petition and by reposting the letter. Click here to read a press release issued by ASAN.

Cross-Disability Letter Denounces Autism Speaks "I Am Autism": The Autistic Self Advocacy Network and our cross-disability partner organizations have jointly authored a letter condemning Autism Speaks for demonizing autism in their "I Am Autism" video presented at the UN World Focus on Autism Conference. (click here to read a transcript of the narration from "I Am Autism"), and their long history of exploitative practices against Autistic people. The joint letter carries support from 65 international, national, state, and local organizations from the cross-disability community. The letter will be sent to Autism Speaks and its sponsors on Tuesday, Oct. 6. Please contact if your organization would like to add its support to the joint letter.

Autistic Community Condemns Unethical Autism Speaks Video. ASAN has issued a press release about the Autistic community's widespread condemnation of the "I Am Autism" advertising campaign by Autism Speaks, which presents Autistic people as kidnap victims and burdens on their family members and communities.

Ohio State Advocacy Efforts: ASAN's Ohio State University chapter distributed handouts, including a flyer explaining why Autism Speaks does not speak for Autistic people, at a student involvement fair. The chapter is organizing a protest against an upcoming Autism Speaks walk on the OSU campus. Click here for more information.

Billboards to be Removed. In response to a letter from ASAN and other expressions of concern from our community, the Autism Society of York, PA has agreed to remove billboards comparing Autistic children to kidnap victims. A news article on the billboard incident appeared in the York Dispatch.

Disability Rights Celebrated: ASAN President Ari Ne'eman represented the organization at an event celebrating the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) that was held at the White House on July 25, 2009. At the event, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. will sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Click here to view photos from the ADA celebration.

ASAN Information Email List
ASAN Discussion Email List
ASAN Featured in the Media
ASAN in Education Week article: ASAN President Ari Ne'eman was quoted in an Education Week article on the proposed federal legislation to protect students with disabilities from abusive use of restraint and seclusion.

Autism Speaks Controversy in ASAN's ongoing protests against Autism Speaks and condemnation of the "I Am Autism" video were discussed in a article, which also mentioned the numerous parodies and video responses created by the self-advocate community.

New York Times Interview: A report on the proposed deletion of the Asperger's Syndrome diagnostic category, published in the New York Times, included an interview with ASAN President Ari Ne'eman.

Washington Protest Coverage: ASAN's protest against Autism Speaks in Washington DC on October 31, 2009, received television coverage from WJLA News on ABC 7, radio coverage from WAMU 88.5 FM, and print coverage from The Hilltop Online.

Cross-Disability Campaign Profiled in New Scientist: ASAN President Ari Ne'eman and ASAN's cross-disability oppositional campaign against Autism Speaks and its "I Am Autism" video were featured in articles that ran in New Scientist Magazine and on the Special Education Blog of Education Week. (The New Scientist article was also syndicated in Australia by World News Australia of the Australian Special Broadcasting Service (SBS).)

Portland Radio Interview with Phoebe Loomis:. ASAN-Oregon activist Phoebe Loomis was interviewed about the cross-disability campaign against Autism Speaks on the evening news of KBOO-FM, an Oregon radio station. Listen to audio of the broadcast, or read the interview transcript. (A captioned version of the broadcast will be posted to YouTube soon.)

Portland TV Interview with Elesia Ashkenazy: Following ASAN-Oregon's protest against Autism Speaks on Saturday, an interview with ASAN-Oregon activist Elesia Ashkenazy was the lead story on the evening news on Portland TV station KOIN-6.

Portland protest on TV news: ASAN's Portland, Oregon chapter organized a protest of an Autism Speaks fundraising walk on Saturday, Sept. 26th, 2009. Watch video from Oregon TV station KPTV-12 and watch video from TV station KOIN-6.

Challenges of Workplace Highlighted: ASAN President Ari Ne'eman appeared in the article "Autistic Adults Vie for a Place in the Work Force" in The Times of Trenton, NJ.

Disability Scoop Feature on Oppositional Campaign: ASAN President Ari Ne'eman and the ASAN-led cross-disability campaign against Autism Speaks' video "I Am Autism" were featured in an article on Disability Scoup, an online news magazine about developmental disabilities.

ASAN President Ari Ne'eman is profiled in Newsweek Magazine discussing the Autistic community's concerns around genetic testing and the need for a new direction in autism advocacy. Click here to read the article.

ASAN President Ari Ne'eman delivers NFB Disability Law Symposium Keynote: On Friday, April 17th, 2009 ASAN President Ari Ne'eman delivered the keynote address at the National Federation of the Blind's Disability Law Symposium. Click here to listen.

Autistic Culture Movement: An article in describes the prominent role of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network in advancing the Autistic culture and seeking to improve quality of life and ensure full access in society.

NJ Looks to Close State Institutions: The Autistic Self Advocacy Network was mentioned in stories about the proposed closing of 5 state institutions in New Jersey that ran in The Press of Atlantic City and The Vineland Journal.

Autistic Adults Video Produced:ASAN Vice President Scott Michael Robertson was among several autistic adults featured in Second Look: Adults With Autism: Autism Affects Every Person Differently, a 17-minute video produced by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare's Bureau of Autism Services. The video can be obtained for free from the Bureau of Autism Services by sending an email to with your shipping address and the DVD title. It will also soon be available to watch online as a streaming video.

National Autism PSA Filmed:The filming of a national public service announcement about autism that is being jointly produced by the Dan Marino Foundation and the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network was highlighted in stories that appeared on WTVF-TV, the CBS affiliate in Nashville, Tennessee, on, and in the Nashville newspaper The Tennessean.


The Autistic Self Advocacy Network is an all volunteer organization.
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