Autism Society of America
The Autism Society of America (ASA) was founded in 1965 by Bernard Rimland, PhD, and claims to be the oldest and largest grassroots organization in the autism community with over 50,000 members and supporters connected through a network of nearly 200 chapters in the United States. The ASA's goal is to increase public awareness about autism and the day-to-day issues faced by autistics as well as their families and the professionals with whom they interact. The organization advocates for programs and services for the autism community, and claims to be a leading source of information, research, and reference on the condition.
Since 1970, the ASA has held national conferences on autism spectrum disorders where families and professionals share what they know and have learned through research and experience. It publishes The Autism Advocate, a print periodical offering information on research, legislation, and tips on living with autism as well as ASA-Net a free biweekly e-newsletter.
Successes in the political arena include the launch of a number of pieces of legislation aimed at protecting the rights of autistics and mandating services for them, especially education. This also includes bills to raise awareness of and appropriating funds for research into the causes of and treatments for autism. The ASA's work in Washington, D.C. has helped put autism on Congress' health care agenda resulting in millions of dollars devoted to autism research and services.
According to the organization's philosophy, no single program or treatment will benefit all autistics. Instead, it believes decisions regarding what is most effective for an autistic should be determined by those directly involved; in particular the autistic and the parents or family members of the affected person.
- Charlie Adams - an ASA spokesman
- Autism-Society.org - 'ASA: The Voice of Autism' (Autism Society of America homepage)