Fight for Your Rights: Advocacy and the Autism Rights Movement


Every autistic child has the right to receive an education, but it isn't always easy to get the education they deserve. Many school systems and educators are unprepared and untrained about how to teach autistic children. Sometimes, we need to stand up for ourselves and advocate for our rights.

Advocate for Your Rights Under the Law

Within the law, there are specific procedural safeguards to protect your child’s rights. If you and your school system disagree on placement, educational programming or another area related to your child’s education, The Autism Society offers suggestions about a variety of methods you can use to address the situation, and support agencies parents can turn to for assistance from education or disability advocates.

To help you better understand your child’s rights under federal law and communicate more effectively with professionals regarding your child’s education, the Autism Society also discusses federally funded Parent Training Information Centers (PTI) and Protection and Advocacy Agencies in each state that provides information and assistance to parents facing the educational process.

The Autism Rights Movement: When Self-Advocacy Just Isn't Enough

The rainbow-colored infinity symbol represents the diversity of the autism spectrum as well as the greater neurodiversity movement.

The rainbow-colored infinity symbol represents the diversity of the autism spectrum as well as the greater neurodiversity movement.

Sometimes, no matter how hard we fight for our children's rights to an education, it isn't enough to overcome the existing prejudices of some school administrators and educators. But as the Autism Awareness/Acceptance movement has grown over the last decade or so, so has the fight to gain those rights.

According to a Wikipedia article, "The Autism Rights Movement (ARM), also known as the autistic culture movement, is a social movement within the neurodiversity and disability rights movements that encourages autistic people, their caregivers and society to adopt a position of neurodiversity, accepting autism as a variation in functioning rather than a disorder to be cured. The ARM advocates a variety of goals including a greater acceptance of autistic behaviors; therapies that teach autistic individuals coping skills rather than therapies focused on imitating behaviors of neurotypical peers; the creation of social networks and events that allow autistic people to socialize on their own terms; and the recognition of the autistic community as a minority group."

The article goes on to state, "Autism rights or neurodiversity advocates believe that the autism spectrum is genetic and should be accepted as a natural expression of the human genome. This perspective is distinct from two other likewise distinct views: the mainstream perspective, that autism is caused by a genetic defect and should be addressed by targeting the autism gene(s), and the fringe theory that autism is caused by environmental factors like vaccines and pollution and could be cured by addressing environmental causes."

For more information, read the Wikipedia article, "Autism Rights Movement".

Autism Rights Groups

There are several organizations in the autism rights movement. Some like the Autistic Self Advocacy Network are led exclusively by Autistic people, while others such as Autism National Committee encourage cooperation between Autistic people and their non-autistic allies.

Year founded
Nonprofit status
1962 National Autistic Society (NAS) Charity supporting advocacy and education. NAS manages a number of schools throughout the United Kingdom. Registered charity
1986 Vlaamse Vereniging Autisme (VVA) Flanders based social network consisting of both Autistic individuals and family members. Autistic individuals and couples where one partner has Autism are frequent speakers or hosts at events intended to improve the understanding and collaboration between Autistic individuals and non-Autistic individuals and eliminate misconceptions about Autism. vzw (equivalent to 501(c))
1990 Autism National Committee (AutCom) Advocacy organization with a specific focus on civil rights, dedicated to "Social Justice for All Citizens with Autism." 501(c)3
1992 Autism Network International (ANI) Self-advocacy organization founded by Autistic individuals. ANI is the host of the annual Autreat conference. None
2004 Aspies For Freedom (AFF) Web-based organization for the Autistic community that had more than 20,000 members. Aspies For Freedom has disbanded, but some of its former members have reorganized at the online communities of Autism Friends Network and ASDCommunity.
2005 The Autism Acceptance Project (TAAProject) Organization founded by mother to autistic son Estee Klar with a group of autistic advisory and board members. An arts-based organization with an online presence that conducts online and offline events to support autism acceptance and critical thinking about autism and disability. Based in Canada. Canadian Registered Charity
2006 Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) Self-advocacy organization founded by Ari Ne'eman to represent the Autistic community and further the autism rights movement. 501(c)3
2009 Don't Play Me, Pay Me UK campaign focusing on Asperger syndrome, encouraging and supporting disabled actors. None
2009 Autism Women's Network (AWN) Self-advocacy organization founded by several Autistic women, focused on the intersection of the autism rights movement with feminism. 501(c)3
2010 Thinking Person's Guide To Autism (TPGA) Collaborative online information resource and publisher of the book by the same name. 501(c)3
2013 The I Can Network The I Can Network is a movement dedicated to driving a rethink of the Autism Spectrum among young people and the community, away from ‘I Can’t’ to ‘I Can’.
2016 Alternative Baseball Organization (ABO) Adaptive baseball/softball organization formed by Taylor Duncan in 2016 to raise awareness and acceptance for teens and adults with autism through sport.

SRC: Wikipedia, Autism Rights Movement

Related Posts

Join the Fight Against Attack on Nonverbal Autistics’ Right to Communicate

Jan 18, 2016

A very disturbing issue has recently come to our attention that we believe is very important for the entire Saved By Typing family to be aware of and take action against. We encourage everybody to get on board, to learn about the issues, and to fight the hateful propaganda and fear-mongering being used against supported…

Read More

Meet Leka, the robot designed to help autistic children learn and interact

Jan 5, 2016

January 5, 2016: Regular readers of the Saved By Typing blog know that one of the topics we like to keep an eye on is technological developments and advances that have the potential to improve the quality of life for children and adults diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD,) from new diagnostic tools to…

Read More

Praxis and Autism: A Report by the Hussman Institute for Autism

Jan 4, 2016

The Hussman Institute for Autism recently published an interesting and insightful article about why people with autism may know exactly what they want to say, but may be unable to say it. Or why, even though they may know how to play a game, they sit motionless, or simply rock back and forth, when their…

Read More

New Technology to Help Nonverbal Autistics Communicate Developed by Team of Purdue Engineering Students

Dec 18, 2015

Video provided by, Channel 18 News in Lafayette, IN [dt_divider style=”thick” /] The inability to communicate with the “outside world” is perhaps the most frustrating aspect for a child with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD,) and one that families of these children must accommodate on a daily basis. In recent years, however, new techniques…

Read More
Lymphatic System

New research changes map of the lymphatic system and, possibly, treatment of neurological diseases

Nov 12, 2015

The stunning results of a research study conducted by the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine, which were released in June of 2015, determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist, contradicting previously long-held beliefs, especially considering how extensively the lymphatic system has been…

Read More
Celebrating ADA

President Obama: Champion of Disabled Americans

Nov 5, 2015

Looking back, it seems to us that great strides have been made over the last few years as concerns the rights of disabled Americans. One big reason for this change, in our opinion, has got to be President Obama. Love him or hate him, the President has been committed to nurturing a society that values…

Read More
Focus Foundation Art

As Autism Awareness Grows, Social Services for Autistics Take on a Local Flavor

Nov 4, 2015

2015 could become known as The Year of Autism Awareness. From new legislation that provides services and protections to those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or other disability, such as Down’s Syndrome (President Obama signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience, or ABLE, Act just before Christmas of 2014,) to new, progressive social service…

Read More

Autism News Roundup, October 2015

Nov 2, 2015

A lot has been going on in recent weeks related to autism awareness and the ASD Community, from events to support and improve the everyday lives of autistic individuals to research that may some day help reduce the affects of the disorder and improve the quality of their lives dramatically. We thought a look at…

Read More
Steve Silberman

Science Writer / Autism Advocate Steve Silberman on Disorder’s Forgotten History

Oct 14, 2015

Steve Silberman could be considered a modern-day Renaissance Man. He is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in Wired, the New Yorker, the MIT Technology Review, Nature, Salon, Shambhala Sun, and many other publications. He was awarded the AAAS “Kavli Science Journalism Award for Magazine Writing.” His featured article “The Placebo Problem” discussed…

Read More
Repetitive Training

New Study Finds Educators Taking Wrong Approach to Teaching Autistic Children

Oct 14, 2015

With the many advances in research, training, and social services available, 2015 may be remembered as the “Year of the Disabled.” From the passage of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act in December of 2014 to new, innovative programs like TAP – The Autism Program of Illinois and IU’s Indiana Resource Center for Autism,…

Read More

One Woman’s Fight for Disabled to Achieve a Better Life Experience Succeeds

Sep 18, 2015

For the last year and a half, we have been following the story of Sara Wolff, a remarkable woman with Downs Syndrome whose future was in jeopardy due to archaic Federal laws that limited a disabled person’s earnings by jeopardizing their Medicaid and Social Security support. She became a one-woman lobbyist to advocate for the…

Read More

Not All Autistics are Nonverbal, Nor All Nonverbals Autistic

Sep 18, 2015

As many people today understand that autism is not one thing, it can present itself in a variety of manners, with differing levels of severity, and presenting a variety of symptoms. This is why the affliction has, in the last decade or so, has been referred to by the all-encompassing term “Autistic Spectrum Disorders,” or…

Read More

Make a Donation to Support Saved By Typing

All funds raised by Saved By Typing are received by United Charitable and become the sole property of United Charitable which, for internal operating purposes, allocates the funds to the Project. The Program Manager or Donor-Advisor makes recommendations for disbursements which are reviewed by United Charitable for approval.

Privacy Policy  |  State Fundraising and Disclosure Statement  |  Nondiscrimination Policy