Guiding Principles

  • The Autism Society’s efforts are focused on meaningful participation and self-determination in all aspects of life for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families.
  • The Autism Society promotes individual, parental and guardian choice to assure that people on the autism spectrum are treated with dignity and respect.
  • The Autism Society proactively informs, influences, guides and develops public policy at the federal, state and local levels, including by setting agendas for policymakers and legislators, for the benefit of the autism community.
  • The Autism Society is the respected voice of the autism community and the primary source for information by providing timely, frequent, relevant and professional communication.
  • The Autism Society works to ensure that every affiliate is a successful affiliate, sustained by a collaborative relationship between the national office and affiliates to realize mutual benefit and to protect the interests of both.
  • The Autism Society advocates for multi-disciplined approaches to autism research focused on improving the quality of life for individuals across the autism spectrum and their families.
  • The Autism Society works to ensure financial self-sufficiency and growth for all Autism Society operating units and integrated operations across all levels of the Autism Society.


At the very core of the parent choice philosophy is the belief that no single program or treatment will benefit all individuals with autism. Furthermore, the recommendation of what is “best” or “most effective” for a person with autism should be determined by those people directly involved – the individual with autism, to the extent possible, and the parents or family members. Providing information and education to help in decision-making is more highly regarded at the Autism Society than advocating for one particular theory or philosophy.

The growing membership base of the Autism Society encompasses a broad, diverse group of parents, family members, special education teachers, administrators, medical doctors, therapists, nurses and aides, as well as countless other personnel involved in the education, care, treatment and support of individuals with autism. Recognizing and respecting the diverse range of opinions, needs and desires of this group, the Autism Society embraces an overall philosophy that chooses to empower individuals with autism and their parents or caregivers to make choices best suited to the needs of the person with autism.