The Autism Rights Movement (ARM) is a branch of the neurodiversity movement that advocates for autism awareness and the eschewing of the medical model. The medical model focuses on finding a “cure” for autism, as well as implementing treatment programs to teach people with autism to act neurotypical.
A soon-to-be high school graduate started his job search in a unique way -- he wrote a candid open letter and posted it on LinkedIn. Ryan Lowry has autism and wants future employers to understand that while he may learn in a different way, he is worth taking a chance on.
Exceptional Minds’ three-year, full-time flagship Professional Training Academy is unique in that they combine the skills of artists, instructors, technicians, and behaviorists into a completely articulated curriculum based on idiographic, empirically validated principles of instructional design. They are the only autism education organization that provides technical instruction in the digital arts while fully integrating behavioral training into the curriculum. Their Employment Support Program provides work readiness training, job coaching, placements, troubleshooting, and employer education.
Learn more: https://exceptional-minds.org/generalinfo/
Jesse A. Saperstein is a best-selling author, autism advocate and motivational speaker. He is considered one of the most respected leaders in the Anti-Bullying movement of his generation. Jesse also has a form of autism called Asperger’s syndrome (AS). Individuals with Asperger’s are impaired by a profound lack of social skills, common sense, and resistance to change in routine. But they are often enhanced by empathy, intellectual gifts, and morality.
Learn more about Jesse: https://www.jessesaperstein.com/
JT FireStarters are a great way to light a fire in your fireplace, grill, wood stove, campfire, chiminea, or home fire pit! Each firestarter is handmade by Daniel, an adult with autism. Each purchase helps Daniel in "Taking My Own Path" towards independence. Daniel also hopes to employ more adults with autism in the future.
Learn more: http://www.justtoops.com/
Anthony Ianni is one of the most sought after motivational speakers in the country. At the age of 4 Anthony was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), which is on the Autism Spectrum (ASD). Doctors and specialists told Anthony’s parents that he would barely graduate from high school, would never graduate from college, would never have a shot at being an athlete and would likely live in a group institution with other Autistic kids for his adult life. His family was devastated but pledged they would help Anthony be successful no matter what. Anthony graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in sociology in 2012 and was a winner of various awards during his time as a basketball player. Learn more: https://raind.msu.edu/people/anthony-ianni
DaniMation Entertainment is a cloud-based autism talent development company that produces original and contract Animation, Illustration, and Graphic Arts. Founded by Dani Bowman at age 14, the company has produced nine animated shorts, a PSA, and a Music Video premiering at San Diego Comic-Con, has illustrated 6 children's books available on Amazon and numerous commercial work. Bowman also travels around the country, teaching animation to teens and young adults with autism at summer camps, and speaking at autism and neurodiverse conferences about "Autism and the Importance of Inclusion of Neurodiversity in the Workforce". Learn more: https://danimationentertainment.com/
Alexis Wineman is an autism advocate who was named Miss Montana 2012. She won the "America's Choice" award at the Miss America 2013 pageant and is the first known autistic contestant to compete in the Miss America pageant. When she made it to Miss America, she realized she wasn't just representing Montana, there was a much larger community, who like her longed to prove to others that their autism doesn't limit who they can become. She did not win Miss America in 2013, but she walked away with so much more--a purpose. With the scholarship dollars from Miss Montana and Miss America, she eventually graduated from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, AL with a degree in Art and thanks to so many she continues to tour the United States speaking, advocating and showing the world that a label does not define autistic people.
Learn more: http://www.alexiswineman.com/
The mission of Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network (AWN) is to provide community, support, and resources for Autistic women, girls, transfeminine and transmasculine nonbinary people, trans people of all genders, Two Spirit people, and all others of marginalized genders. AWN Network is dedicated to building a supportive community where Autistic people can share their experiences in an understanding, diverse and inclusive environment. AWN is committed to recognizing and celebrating diversity and the many intersectional experiences in the Autistic community.
Learn more: https://awnnetwork.org/
Dr. Temple Grandin is well known to many for her trailblazing work as a spokesperson for people with autism and her lifelong work with animal behavior. Dr. Grandin has been with Colorado State University (CSU) for over 25 years. Grandin has been referred to as the "most famous person working at CSU" by her peers. Her life’s work has been to understand her own autistic mind, and to share that knowledge with the world, aiding in the treatment of individuals with the condition. Her understanding of the human mind has aided her in her work with animal behavior, and she is one of the most respected experts in both autism and animal behavior in the world. Grandin shares her wealth of knowledge with her classes at CSU where she teaches the Graduate Animal Behavior and Welfare program and continues her research. She has no plans on stopping anytime soon.
Learn more: http://www.templegrandin.com/
POPCORN FOR THE PEOPLE is a nonprofit established to create meaningful employment for individuals with Autism and disabilities. They aim to combat the current 80% Unemployment Rate in the Autistic community with the training and hiring of adults with Autism to create, cook, package, and sell uniquely flavored gourmet popcorn.
Learn more: https://www.popcornforthepeople.com/
Dr. Stephen Shore is an autistic professor of special education at Adelphi University. He has written books that include: College for Students with Disabilities, Understanding Autism for Dummies, Ask and Tell, and Beyond the Wall. Currently, he serves on the board of Autism Speaks, and is one of the first two autistic board members in its history, looking to improve the potential of those on the autism spectrum. He once headed the Asperger's Association of New England and was on the board of the Autism Society of America.
Learn more: https://drstephenshore.com/
The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE) helps people with Asperger's or similar autism spectrum and neurodiverse profiles build meaningful, connected lives. The organization provides individuals, families, and professionals with information, education, community, support, and advocacy — all in an inclusive atmosphere of validation and respect.
Learn more: https://www.aane.org/
Award Winning and Breakthrough Advocate Kerry Magro knew early on that he wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. Kerry was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) a form of autism, at age 4. Growing up Kerry’s future was very uncertain. Today however, after countless hours of therapy and the support of a loving family, Kerry has conquered many of his challenges. Now as an adult Kerry is a professional speaker, best-selling author, movie consultant and non-profit founder.
Learn more: http://kerrymagro.com/
Formerly known as Talk About Curing Autism, The Autism Community in Action (TACA) is a non-profit organization. It provides education and support to individuals and families living with autism. According to its website, the organization’s vision is “for every individual diagnosed with autism to lead an independent life.”
Learn more: https://tacanow.org/
Morénike Giwa Onaiwu is an educator, writer, public speaker, parent, and global advocate. She is passionate about human rights, justice, and inclusion. She is involved in various social justice advocacy endeavors including HIV awareness, learning via technology, research, gender, disability, and racial equity and other issues. A prolific writer, Morénike has written for and/or been featured in numerous blogs, abstracts, magazines, books, and other platforms, often drawing from her personal experiences as a late-diagnosed Autistic adult woman, a person of color, an Autistic parent of Autistic and non-Autistic children, and a survivor of intimate partner violence.
Read more: https://morenikego.com/
Amy Gravino is a certified autism specialist, college coach, speaker and author, amongst other things. Amy’s work particularly focuses on how autism affects women. She is heavily involved in ongoing autism research and is dedicated to supporting adults on the spectrum as they navigate their symptoms.
Learn more: https://www.amygravino.com/
Autism National Committee (AutCom) is the first autism advocacy organization dedicated to "Social Justice for All Autistics" through a shared vision and a commitment to positive approaches. The organization was founded in 1990 to protect and advance the human rights and civil rights of all persons with autism and related differences of communication and behavior.
Learn more: https://www.autcom.org/
Haley Moss is a South Florida native who was diagnosed with autism at age three. Upon receiving her autism diagnosis, her family was told that she would be fortunate to make a friend, graduate high school, or obtain her driver’s license. Haley has defied the expectations set forth within her initial diagnosis. Today, she is an attorney, author, artist, and autism advocate who writes and speaks publicly about her journey and gives hope for other autistic people and their families and friends.
Learn more: https://haleymoss.net/
The Autism Science Foundation was founded in 2009 as a nonprofit corporation organized for charitable and educational purposes. The Autism Science Foundation’s mission is to support autism research by providing funding and other assistance to scientists and organizations conducting, facilitating, publicizing and disseminating autism research. The organization also provides information about autism to the general public and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism.
Learn more: https://autismsciencefoundation.org/
Dan Aykroyd is a comedian, singer, actor and screenwriter known for the movies Blues Brothers and, of course, Ghostbusters. He was diagnosed with Asperger's in the 1980s when his wife urged him to see a doctor. He has cheerfully credited his Asperger’s with being responsible for helping him create his huge hit, Ghostbusters. This renowned actor and writer went on to win academy awards and was nominated several times for his roles in television and cinema.
Founded by former football star Doug Flutie, the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism aims to “help people and families affected by autism live life to the fullest.” To achieve this mission, the Foundation sponsors a variety of programs and activities to improve the quality of everyday life for individuals on the autism spectrum.
Learn more: https://www.flutiefoundation.org/
Scottish singing sensation Susan Boyle shot to fame on Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 and became one of the bestselling British female artists. She was misdiagnosed with “brain damaged” after complications at birth. She was finally diagnosed in her early 50s with Asperger’s. After her diagnosis she has said that she feels relieved and a bit more relaxed about herself.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) seeks to advance the principles of the disability rights movement with regard to autism. ASAN believes that the goal of autism advocacy should be a world in which autistic people enjoy equal access, rights, and opportunities. ASAN works to empower autistic people across the world to take control of their own lives and the future of their common community, and seek to organize the autistic community to ensure their voices are heard in the national conversation about them: “Nothing About Us, Without Us!”
Learn more: https://autisticadvocacy.org/
An outspoken and involved member of the autism community, John Elder Robison has become a celebrated author of his experiences living on the ASD spectrum. His memoir published in 2007, Look Me in the Eye was an instant bestseller. Over the years he has continued to write incredible works, along with speaking and advocating for all peoples on the spectrum. He grew up in the 1960s before the breadth of the autism spectrum was fully understood, so he was not diagnosed until age 40. John’s books are sold in a dozen languages in over 65 countries.
NEXT for AUTISM transforms the national landscape of services for people with autism by strategically designing, launching, and supporting innovative programs. The organization believes that individuals with autism have the potential to live fulfilling, productive lives when supported by excellent services and connected to their communities.
Learn more: https://www.nextforautism.org/
Clay Marzo is a professional surfer from Hawaii, famous for his unique “double-jointed” style of turns and spins. He became a highly skilled competitive surfer at a young age and has been hailed for his creativity with the board and his innovative maneuvers. The documentary “Clay Marzo: Just Add Water”, explores Marzo’s life as a surfer and as a person with Asperger syndrome. Marzo volunteers with the non-profit organization Surfers Healing which arranges surfing camps and surfing experiences for children with ASD in the United States and Canada.
Read more: http://www.atecsl.net/clay-marzo/
The mission of Surfers Healing is to enrich the lives of people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. Though the organization serves thousands, that mission exists because of one child. Israel and Danielle Paskowitz founded Surfers Healing because of their son, Isaiah. Isaiah has autism, and when he struggled with meltdowns and sensory overload, riding the waves with his father calmed him like nothing else. Not everyone has a championship surfer for a Dad, so the Paskowitz family invited others to join them at the beach. Their idea caught on, and now they are a nationwide, grassroots non-profit organization. Surfers Healing is the original surf camp for children with autism, and they offer all their events free of charge.
Read more: https://www.surfershealing.org/
Deron Williams is all about Autism Awareness and giving back and says his son D.J. (short for Deron Jr.) changed him. In 2012, after D.J.’s diagnosis, Williams began a partnership with Autism Speaks. As one of his first events in conjunction with Autism Speaks, Williams hosted 30 families with autistic children affected by Hurricane Katrina at a Manhattan establishment for lunch, live music, activities and presents. Even before D.J. was diagnosed with autism, Williams put heavy weight on community service.
Manuel Díaz is a multiple neurodivergent, neurodiversity activist, a blogger and writer at Neurodivergencia Latina. He is also an inaugural Autistic Scholar through the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. He is a physicist and the founder and president of Texas Neurodiversity at the University of Texas. The goal of his Spanish-language blog Autismo, Liberación y Orgullo is to inform Spanish-speaking people about the neurodiversity paradigm, and the Neurodiversity Movement. He publishes his own work in both English and Spanish and also translates the works of renowned neurodiversity activists, with their permission, to Spanish.
Read more: https://neurolatino.wordpress.com/