Happy Autistic Pride Day! #LightItUpGold

Happy Autistic Pride Day! #LightItUpGold!

Aspies For Freedom (AFF) was founded in 2004 by Amy and Gwen Nelson, and established June 18 as Autistic Pride Day starting in 2005.

Autistic Pride Day was first celebrated in 2005 by Aspies For Freedom (AFF), who selected June 18 because it was the birthday of the youngest member of the group at that time.

AFF was also instrumental in initiating protests against the National Alliance for Autism ResearchCure Autism Now, and the Judge Rotenberg Center.

Aims Of AFF

Aims of AFF

  • To oppose the idea of a cure for AS
  • To re-label AS/Autism as being a neurological difference and not a disability
  • To be recognized as equals in society
  • To establish a sense of community for people with autistic spectrum disorders
  • To acquire legal protection against our human rights being violated throughout the world
  • To unite the autistic community throughout the world
  • To unite the autistic community both online and offline
  • To recognize our own unique culture and abilities.

Aspies For Freedom (AFF)

As featured in New Scientist magazine, The Times, Graphic Truth and MSNBC.COM. 

Welcome to Aspies for Freedom. The site has an autism chat room, autism forums, aspergers forums, and lots of information in the autism wiki. The forums are for any members of the autism/autistic community, and members of the autism parents community are also welcome. 

This is unlike any autism and asperger’s site you have ever seen before. We view autism, not necessarily as a disability, or something that is negative for everyone on the autistic spectrum, but as part of who the individual is. 

We know that autism is not a disease, and we oppose any attempts to “cure” someone of an autism spectrum condition such as aspergers syndrome or any attempts to make them ‘normal’ against their will. We aim to expand beyond being an online-only organisation by setting up offline social groups in various locations internationally. We are part of building the autism culture. We aim to oppose all forms of discrimination against aspies and auties, and work to bring the community together both online and offline.

AFF’s history

There have been many sites online celebrating AS & autism before, but we felt that a more proactive approach was needed. A group that brought everyone on the spectrum together, but not just online, offline too.

We created “Aspies for Freedom”, and a forum for the new organisation where one of the first few posts made a comment about how we should represent the whole spectrum. And so, the AFF became an organisation devoted to the whole autistic spectrum, though the name “aspies for freedom” remained.

A set of aims and objectives was created and the beginnings of an actual non-profit organisation in the real world were founded. Now, many of the AFF forum’s members come from all over the world and represent the whole autistic spectrum and every age group. 

Aims of Aspies For Freedom

At Aspies for Freedom we are aiming for certain rights and opportunities. We are fighting against the idea of a cure for autism. We believe autism and aspergers syndrome are genetic. Therefore not a disease and certainly not something that could be cured. We do not require “fixing”, and should be allowed to be happy with who we are, not subjected to the torment of having to believe we are wrong to be born as we are.

We want to develop a community offline, aswell as the thriving online community, in order to be able to feel accepted among our own kind. To not have to be controlled by societal rules, that are so critical of our behaviour. What is abnormal to people in general, can be normal to us. Many of us have suffered mental health problems from being forced to go against our true nature, this is wholly unacceptable.

We want to be recognised as an official minorty group, and for it to be seen that autism is not always disabling. When autism and add/or additional comorbid conditions are a disability, we want the person to be given the help and services they need, without discrimination.

We want legal protection against the discrimination that many of us suffer. It should be established that there is no “normal” person inside an autistic one somehow wanting to be set free. That individual is a whole person and needs to be accepted, not altered to fit in with ‘average’ ways.

Overall we want unity for the autistic community online and in real life, and to improve all of our futures.

Our aims are as follows:

  • To oppose the idea of a cure for autism and aspergers.
  • To re-label aspergers and autism as being a neurological difference and not always disabling.
  • To be recognised as equals in society.
  • To establish a sense of community for people on the autistic spectrum.
  • To acquire legal protection against our human rights being violated throughout the world.
  • To unite the autistic community both online and offline.
  • To have our own unique autism culture and abilities recognised in society.
  • To have autistics recognised as an official minority group by the United Nations.

Aspies for Freedom is a non-profit group, it campaigns for autism awareness and highlight important concerns for the autism community as a whole.

The main areas of concern are the developing of pre-natal testing for autism, which would result in the same situation currently happening for Down Syndrome, 90% are aborted after being discovered by prenatal tests.

As Autism is a spectrum condition there would be no way of telling the outcome, and there is such an amount of scare mongering about autism in the media that parents would be in fear of having a child with autism at all.

Aff is concerned about the treatment of those with autism, particularly the use of aversive/punishments, such as ammonia used on young children with autism as a part of ABA therapy. Parents in Canada are trying to asserts that all autistic should be given ABA as medical or education necessity, this ignores the fact that ABA is so controversial and frowned upon by those with autism, as to try and prevent stimming and dramatically alter a child’s true nature is wrong.

AFF has an ongoing campaign against the Judge Rotenberg Center who are giving autistic children electric shock therapy, there is no justification for that kind of treatment. People are unaware that this kind of thing still goes on in the 21st Century, and we need to publicize these types of abuse in order to change the treatment and discrimination we face as a community.

One other initiative of Aspies For Freedom is to approach the United Nations to define the autistic community as a social minority group, as we fulfill the criteria for this, and its one way of trying to combat the discrimination that people with autism and Asperger’s face and pressure to conform to unacceptable standards.

This is a declaration of the worldwide autism community that from here on we wish to be recognized as a minority group.

We make this declaration to assert our existence, to be able to have a ‘voice’ on autism, rather than only that of experts and professionals in the field, to show how discrimination affects our lives, and that we want to direct a change from this type of bias against our natural differences, and the poor treatment that can ensue thereof.

We recognize the autism community as those diagnosed with any condition on the autism spectrum, including autism, low-functioning and high-functioning, those with Asperger’s syndrome, fragile x, hyperlexia, and PDD-NOS.

We are aware that there are some people who have not yet received the diagnosis, yet still recognize them for themselves as on the autism spectrum, and have the same elements on the diagnostic criteria.

We recognize ourselves as a minority group based on the following factors –

People in the autism community have their own away of using language and communication that is different from the general population is often misunderstood and can cause a bias against us.

Autism Spectrum conditions are scientifically proven to be largely genetic and heritable. Many of those on the autism spectrum who have children bear children who are also on the spectrum, this needs to be recognized to avoid the frequency of criticism of autistic parents and discrimination that this is suffered as to misunderstanding the different needs, and communication between family members on the spectrum.

People in the autism spectrum have a unique social network, this is primarily using communication with text on the internet. It is an invaluable community online so that isolated members of the autism community can join in and participate.

People on the autism spectrum have our own cultural differences, unique habits, such as stimming and different perspectives than the norm. We feel it is essential that this is recognized as these ‘traits’ are the things that some children and adults are forced to stop by some harsh and intensive therapies. We should have the right to be ourselves, without the pressure to conform and change our cultural differences.

We experience discrimination in various forms, often because of our different use of language and communication, habitual differences, such as stimming, and lack of acknowledgment that autistic parents may have autistic children, and difference in the children are not due to poor parenting, but the innate differences of our minority group.

The members of the autism community are facing imminent threat of possible cure, in whatever fashion that may transpire, pre natal testing for autism that could mean a form of eugenics, and total prevention from genetic counseling before conception.

We have the grave concerns of the possibility of being forced to accept a cure, of parents being forced to cur children, and of there being a great pressure put on parents on the spectrum to have genetic tests, or some prenatal screening. In the same sense that this would be entirely unacceptable to cure someone’s skin color, we feel that our differences need to be respected and our minority group protected.

A specific case of how being afforded protection would help members of the community is the present treatment meted out to autistic children at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Boston in the USA. The children can be given electric shock “therapy”, this is a form comes from a contraption that can be worn for many years. This inhumane treatment is sickening to members of our community, this is just one example of many.

We mean for this statement to begin a process of official recognition by the United Nations that we are indeed a minority group, and worthy of protection from discrimination, inhumane treatment, and that our differences are valued in their own right and not something that needs to be cured.

Aspies For Freedom Protest Cure Autism Now (CAN)

This protest is against Cure Autism Now

The autistic community is NOT asking for a cure for autism. The vast majority of adults autistics want acceptance, not cure. We need to be recognized and respected and our differences appreciated.

We are aware that CAN is looking to cur or PREVENT autism and we realize this means pre-natal testing in the future leading to abortion.

By supporting CAN you are contributing to the negative attitude towards autism. Many of us have happy and fulfilled lives.

Acceptance can do that for all of us.


One response to “Happy Autistic Pride Day! #LightItUpGold”

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