Since 1965, the Autism Society in partnership with our over 100 local and state affiliates has supported millions of individuals and families impacted by autism. The Autism Society envisions individuals and families living with autism are able to maximize their quality of life, are treated with the highest level of dignity, and live in a society in which their talents and skills are appreciated and valued.
Advocating for All Affected by Autism
The Autism Society’s public policy and advocacy efforts have continually improved the lives of those affected by autism. At the national level, the Autism Society supports the needs of the millions of individuals impacted by autism in America and their family members. At the state level, the Autism Society helps state Autism Societies advancing advocacy efforts at the state level to advance the wellbeing of individuals and families impacted by autism. Each year, volunteers and staff from around the nation come to Washington, DC to meet with their national elected officials and to promote a responsive and accountable national legislative agenda to advance the quality of life of all diagnosed with autism.
The Autism Society relies upon a proactive rather than reactive approach to advocacy by working alongside policy makers as well as elected officials and their staff to advance the wellbeing of all living with autism. Often working in partnership with other national groups, the Autism Society also values the needs of all living with any disability and does not ever want to deny an opportunity to another person with a disability.
From the 1970s, when we contributed to IDEA which mandated free and appropriate educational services to all children, to today. The Autism Society works to make real, lasting systems change that improves the lives of all affected by autism.
Answering the Call, the Autism Society’s National Contact Center, Autism Source
The Autism Society provides a National Contact Center, Autism Source, Monday to Friday from 9 am to 9 pm. Staffed by professionals, it is here to help individuals, families and professionals seeking valuable information on available services and referrals and to better understand issues associated with autism. Our Autism Source™ online resource database contains over 35,000 listings of autism service providers throughout the nation.
Many parents say that their first call after receiving a diagnosis of autism is to the Autism Society, however it doesn’t end with that first call. We are here through all phases of one’s lifespan, empowering those affected by autism through a one-on-one connection with our staff of trained Information and Referral specialists.
Contact us! The Autism SourceTM contact center is available to take calls, emails and letters Monday to Friday from 9 am to 9 pm. Connect to our comprehensive service via our toll-free number, 800-3AUTISM (800-328-8476) or firstname.lastname@example.org, and through the largest online referral database of autism services, Autism Source.
Supporting locally through the Autism Society’s Affiliates Network
The Autism Society supports the needs of its over 100 local or state affiliates through training, advocacy, financial support through grants, fundraising assistance and much more, to help each affiliate maximize its effectiveness in being a leader of services and support in a community.
Autism Society’s affiliates are your best source of information and support, and where the person in need is helped directly. Through support groups, help with understanding the services in the community or state, local and state advocacy, help to an individual and his/her family to navigate often complex and confusing service systems, and training to local and statewide organizations on being autism friendly and responsive, the local or state Autism Society affiliates thrive each and every day. A listing of the local and state affiliates can be found here: Affiliate Map.
Building Autism Friendly, Inclusive Communities
Inclusion is one of the Autism Society’s Quality of Life Indicators. The Autism Society’s vision is to increase the quality of life of everyone living with autism. When we say “quality of life,” we’re talking about basic human rights that allow people to interact with one another and the world on their own terms. The Autism Society believes that individuals with autism deserve to live, work, play, socialize, learn and worship in the setting and manner of their own choosing.
The Autism Society works with national employers throughout the nation to help them advance the hiring and retention of workers with an autism diagnosis. The Autism Society works with companies and other entities to become autism friendly, meaning their products or services are responsive to the needs of an individual with an autism diagnosis, they promote and encourage the hiring of individuals with an autism diagnosis, and they support the needs of their employees who have children or other family members with an autism diagnosis.
Click on the links below to learn more about initiatives creating better communities for those with autism:
Educating and Training, the Autism Society’s National Conference
For over 40 years, the Autism Society has hosted the largest and oldest conference on autism spectrum disorders every July bringing together individuals with an autism diagnosis, family members, professionals as well as community, state and national leaders for three days of training and listening to nationally recognized and respected leaders in the field.
The national conference brings together an audience of individuals with autism, their loved ones, and professionals from multiple disciplines including – educators, behavior analysts, social workers, speech and hearing pathologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, registered nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and physicians – attendees from across the country with a range of experiences and needs- creating a wonderful and unique opportunity to learn, network and share ideas. The collective expertise and experiences of family members, professionals and individuals on the spectrum, makes the Autism Society National Conference the place to be to learn from expert presenters and each other how to more effectively advocate and obtain supports.
The Autism Society’s online magazine, the Autism Advocate offers a diverse collection of articles that address the latest news on autism, personal perspectives, as well as strategies and tips from individuals with autism, parents, and professionals.
The Autism Society’s offers excellent printed materials such as our “What is Autism?” brochure and our Living with Autism series. These four-page booklets provide easy-to-understand, practical information related to the autism spectrum for a broad audience on a wide range of educational topics such as “Building our Future: Educating Students on the Autism Spectrum” or “Transition to Middle School” as well as daily life topics such as sleep, siblings and puberty. The series has also been expanded to support Victims of Crime as part of our Safe and Sound® program with resource materials for Law Enforcement and First Responders, Attorneys, Judges, Counselors, and other community leaders.
Raising Awareness, Acceptance and Appreciation
Raising awareness of autism is part of everything we do. The Autism Society founded National Autism Awareness Month, which helps focus attention on autism in April every year. The United States recognizes April as a special opportunity for everyone to educate the public about autism and issues within the autism community and foster acceptance and appreciation of individuals on the autism spectrum as the valued members of our community that they are. The Autism Society is also the home of the Autism Awareness Puzzle Ribbon, one of the most recognizable cause-related symbols.
The Autism Society, in partnership with volunteers and staff from the over 100 local and state affiliates, has established a strong strategic plan which advances the well being of all with an autism diagnosis to always maximize their quality of life. As part of the plan’s implementation, the Autism Society is making sure that measurable outcomes are defined and assessed to best help individuals. For more information on the strategic plan, click here.
Last updated: August 26, 2015