National Statement on Policy
As a mission-based organization, the Autism Society represents individuals and families living with autism and partners with organizations to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). We believe each family and the individual with autism should have the right to learn about and then select the options they feel are most appropriate for the individual with autism. By connecting people to policy, the Autism Society relies upon a network of self-advocates, parents, guardians, family members, professionals and other partners to respond to issues across the lifespan. The Autism Society actively promotes nonpartisanship and we work across both ends of the political spectrum. We are currently focused on education, employment, family caregiving, Medicaid, social security and community living and for upholding fundamental human rights. For questions about our policy priorities, contact the Autism Society’s government affairs division at advocacy@autism-society.org.

The Autism Society and its affiliates are committed to these core advocacy principles:
•  Policies should be person‐centered so that individuals can access services and supports that recognize their goals, aspirations, and right to choose, with input from the family when necessary.
•  Policies should build upon a strong integrated network of community-based resources and services that strengthen individuals with autism and lead to healthy development.
•  Policies should include collaboration with other partners, including non-disability groups, to strategically align common goals and achieve systemic policy change.
•  Policies should ensure that services and supports, including health care, education, and transitional services, are portable from one state to another and within states.
•  Policies should address and seek to rectify the inadequate range of adult services and supports.
•  Policies should prioritize the wishes of the individual with autism across the lifespan, with input from the family and team of service providers, professionals, and friends when necessary.
•  Policies should be culturally responsive and inclusive, ensuring mutual respect and genuine appreciation of diversity.

National Priorities
Education: Promote creation of school communities in which all students are welcome, safe, and valued, with appropriate supports to participate alongside their peers. Youth with disabilities need a seamless and successful transition into post-secondary education, employment or meaningful day activities. School communities should ensure that children reach their full potential by embracing diversity among all learners, providing flexible learning and assessments, and laying the foundation for education equity in all aspects of students’ lives.
Community Living and Housing: Encourage expansion options for housing and community living, as well as long-term supports. Services should be individualized to the needs of the person with a disability and reflect the choices, desires, and culture and ethnic needs of that person, in conjunction with his or her family when necessary.
Employment: Seek to increase the employment rate for people with autism. Presume that they are all capable of competitive employment, community service, volunteerism or appropriate day activities. Promote creation of programs to build capacity for providing employment to every person who desires it.
Family Caregiving: Advocate for the expansion of federal, state and local initiatives that provide a comprehensive family caregiving support system. Increase funding for respite and other critical family support programs that provide a safety net for family caregivers across the lifespan.
Human Rights: Strive to protect inalienable human and civil rights of people with autism to live freely, without the risk of harm. Actively promote abolishing the use of aversive processes, stigmatization, and abuse and neglect by supporting protective policies and legislation.
Health Care: Expand access to high quality, comprehensive, accessible and affordable health care services for all persons with autism. Maintain diverse, flexible insurance options to meet complex care needs of individuals living with autism.
Medicaid: Work toward protecting and maintaining the lifeline and entitlement of a full range of Medicaid health and long-term supports and services for individuals with disabilities. Aim to safeguard federal state open-expenditure sharing partnership and reject efforts to restructure an essential lifeline for people with autism and other disabilities.
Social Security & SSDI: Make every effort to maintain the solvency of Social Security while preserving the program’s structure and functioning. Social Security should continue to function as a government-administered entitlement program without privatization.

Adopted by the Autism Society Board of Directors, 7/12/2017