AFN Goals and Aims
Autism Friends Network ( AFN ) is a solidarity and campaigning group that is raising public awareness of the autism rights movement. Our group, made up mainly of Aspies, welcomes anyone on the autism spectrum.
The impact of the neurodiversity movement, including Aspies for Freedom, in particular, has stimulated scholarly discourse on the subject and has been covered in depth by multiple peer-reviewed journals.
The aim of Autism Friends Network is to educate the public that the autism spectrum is not always a disability, and that there are advantages as well as disadvantages. Our group still supports and participates in the annual Autistic Pride Day. The group also campaigns against abusive forms of therapy, and against the idea of a cure for autism. AFN hopes to have autistic people recognized as a minority status group.
The board does belong to the community. It wouldn't be what it is without the contributions of members.
One of the main aims of AFN is to fight against the idea of a cure for us. We dont want to lose who we are, and have future autistics wiped through genetic screening
And to prevent eugenic elimination of autistic people by opposing pre-natal testing for autism.
With the right support services in place, all autistic people are capable of living meaningful and fulfilling lives. However, negative media coverage and deliberate pity campaigning have created the public opinion that autism is a “tragedy”, and that people with autism have no hope of achieving anything. As such, the availability of a pre-natal test would cause the majority of autistic people to be aborted.
And to oppose physically or mentally harmful “treatments” targeting autistic people.
Due to the public perception of autism, a large number of unethical treatments have become quite common. These include physically harmful treatments (such as aversive behavioural therapies or restraints), mentally harmful treatments (such as 20-40 hr/week ABA, restriction of non-harmful stimming and other autistic coping mechanisms), dangerous non-medically approved therapies based on discredited theories or religious beliefs (such as chelation or exorcism), and therapies that would be called “torture” if they were used on non-autistic children (such as the electroshock “behavioural” devices).
AFN advocates the removal of all physically or mentally harmful therapies.
And to emphasise the “spectrum” view of autism, and de-emphasise the differences between the various autistic spectrum labels.
Part of the problem with the “autism as tragedy” point of view is that it carries with it the idea that a person is somehow separable from autism, and that there is a “normal” person trapped “behind” the autism.
Being autistic is something that influences every single element of who a person is – from the interests we have, the ethical systems we use, the way we view the world, and the way we live our lives. As such, autism is a part of who we are.
To “cure” someone of autism would be to take away the person they are, and replace them with someone else.
Many problems associated with autism are caused, or worsened, by prejudice. The root of this is prejudice itself – if we deal with only the forms of prejudice that currently relate to autism, another form of prejudice will rise up to replace them.
Because of this, AFN chooses to oppose all forms of prejudice and bigotry.
Another extreme is the desire of some groups to ascribe mystical qualities to autistic people, which has the side effect of dehumanising autistic people.
Autistic people are everywhere. There’s a good chance that you work with or know an autistic person without realising it. Autism isn’t a tragedy, or a side-effect of genius – it’s a difference to be valued.
As such, AFN will attempt to destroy stereotypes to create a positive and realistic idea of what it means to be autistic.
AFN is centered to cater primarily for people across the Autistic Spectrum, however we welcome any Unautistic allies of Autistic People with open arms.
contributed to by: Staff
Autism with a Capital A
1. What is the Autistic Community?
The Autistic Community Consists of:
1. Autistic people.
This includes people from across the spectrum, including Aspies – people diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome
2. Unautistic Allies
Such as parents of Autistic People, Unautistic siblings of Autistic People, Unautistic Children of Autistic People, Partners and friends of Autistic People, and any Unautistic person who sees Autistic People as their equals; as their brothers and sisters.
2. What is the Autistic Rights Movement?
The Autistic Rights Movement is a practical activism movement, focused on actively improving the lives of people in the Autistic community. It is inspired by the philosophy of Neurodiversity: the idea that people of an uncommon neurotype (such as Autism, Synaesthesia, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD or ADD) are not inherently ‘wrong’, rather that they are different and equal to people of more common neurotypes. Moreover, according to the philosophy of Neurodiversity, a person’s neurotype is part of their own identity, and to mould someone’s identity into a warped vision of ‘normality’ is to ultimately destroy a person’s identity.
The basic aims of Autistic Rights Movement are:
1. To increase the services, and improve the accessibility of services, for the Autistic Community
These services include (but are not limited to), Psychology and Psychiatry, Speech Therapy, Occupational therapy, necessary early intervention, Counselling and extra support for parents and families, resources for Autistic Adults in regards to employment and accommodation.
2. To ensure that such services mentioned above are completely non-harmful (both physically and mentally) and are at the highest standard possible.
3. To push for education reform, so every child across the Autistic spectrum has access to education that is right for them as individuals.
4. To oppose all forms of eugenics and Autism ‘cures’, as well as oppose the organisations and public figures who support these ideas.
5. To completely de-stigmatise Autism by increasing awareness and educating the general public on the spectrum view of Autism.
We don’t ‘pretty’ things up, but we acknowledge both the positive and the negative aspects of Autism
6. To unify and enlighten the Autistic Community
7. To ensure that all people on the spectrum, no matter where they fall in severity, are given the opportunities to live a happy and meaningful life
8. To revolutionise society’s views on Autism Completely!
contributed by: black butterfly
Getting rid of the niche
Lets face it, not many people in the world are talking about the NDM (neurodiversity movement) or the ARM ( autism rights movement). Currently it is discussed only by individuals who are directly affected by these movements- in the case of the ARM- people on the spectrum, some professionals, some friends and family on the spectrum.
This is hardly enough to make a change in society.
This is all about AWARENESS, and COMMUNICATION; and more importantly, the RIGHT kind of awareness and communication that will attract the right people.
In essence, we need sell Autism to a larger market.
This seems very mad-men esque, i can already smell the cigarette smoke, taste the alcohol and i think i am begining to like like chistina hendricks more by the minute.
But unlike the people of mad men we cant sell lies. its all about getting the accurate truth out to a very large group of people- and of course, we are in it to win it- there is competition, namely autism speaks.
I think that in a way, previous groups of people involved in ARM have really overlooked the factor of communication- almost pigeonholing themselves because ' aspie's don't do communication'. I think that the main objective in ARM is media and communication- we need excellent PR, Marketing, and Journalism in order to get anything done.
I actually think that it is possible for us to do this- this is not above us- we can use media to our advantage to get rid of the niche.
I'm not sure if i made a clear point or not but here is a sort of flow chart that will summarise my point
1. If we want to make change happen, we need EVERYBODY talking about Neurodiversity and the Autism Rights movement- not just people who are directly involved.
What do we need to make this happen?
2. We need good MEDIA and COMMUNICATION to improve AWARENESS of this movement, as well as what autism is
3. We also need to be the best pick of the bunch- ie, Have BETTER media and communication than groups like JRC, Autism speaks and other Autism Cure groups
4. We also need ACCURATE yet POSITIVE information about Autism that is EASY FOR AN IDIOT TO UNDERSTAND
In short ,we need amazing communication and media skills
However, recently we have previously pigeonholed ourselves a bit too much, generally thinking that
ASPIES DONT DO COMMUNICATION
This really bothers me because:
1. yes, generally speaking communication is not our forte, however, some Aspies are in/ interested in being part of the media and communications industry (hello yours truely), so we arent all bad at communication
2. We all have skills, and with enough ORGANISATION we can all pitch in to help with our movement communication and public presence.
Are you good at art? Perhaps you could design pro neurodiversity/ ARM graphics and posters?
Are you good at writing? Write essays about this movement?
Are you good at music? Make music for campaigns?
Are you good at technology? Increase social media presence of ARM and Neurodiversity
the list can go on. we all have things we can do to pitch in to this
contributed by black butterfly
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