September 2018
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As people with disabilities, we know that every right we have is the result of a hard-won fight. Now, Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court puts everything we have fought for at risk. We can’t let him turn back the clock on disability rights – call your Senators today and tell them to vote NO on Kavanaugh’s nomination. 


Putting Judge Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court would be a disaster for people with disabilities. Kavanaugh is opposed to the Affordable Care Act, and thinks parts of it might be illegal. If the Supreme Court decides the ACA is illegal, millions of people will lose access to health care – especially people with disabilities and other pre-existing conditions. As a judge, Kavanaugh has a history of denying disabled people’s rights. In 2007, Kavanaugh ruled against 3 women with intellectual disabilities who had been forced to have abortions or other elective surgeries by the city of DC. In this ruling, he said that people with intellectual disabilities do not have the right to have any say at all in what kind of health care they get.


If the Senate votes to confirm Judge Kavanaugh, he will be appointed to the Supreme Court FOR LIFE. His decisions would affect our lives for decades to come, and nothing we do after he is confirmed could change that. We only get one chance to keep Kavanaugh off of the Supreme Court and protect the rights our community has fought so hard for. And with the Senate rushing to start hearings, the time to act is right now.


You know what to do: call your Senators, and tell them to vote NO on Kavanaugh! You can use our script while calling:

My name is [your full name]. I’m a constituent of Senator [Name], and I live in [your town]. I’m calling to ask the Senator to vote NOT to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh would undermine the Affordable Care Act, and he is a danger to the rights of people with disabilities. In 2007, he ruled that people with intellectual disabilities don’t have a right to a say in their health care. He sided with the DC government, which had forced people to have abortions they didn’t want. People with disabilities like [me/ my family member/ my friends] have a right to health care, and we have a right to make our own choices about what happens to our bodies. Please keep this dangerous man off the Supreme Court.


If you have calling anxiety or use AAC, our factsheet gives you strategies you can use to call your Senators. If you want more information about Judge Kavanaugh, including a plain language explainer, check out this resource page.

Once you’ve finished calling, here are some other steps you can take:

  • *Visit your Senators’ state offices, and let their staff know how Kavanaugh’s confirmation would affect you. This kind of face-to-face meeting really makes a difference. You can find lists of your Senators’ state offices on their websites.
  • *Email or fax your Senators. You can use the same script you did while calling.


If placed on the Supreme Court, Judge Kavanaugh could be the deciding vote in countless cases affecting our lives. This is a risk we cannot afford. For ourselves, for our communities, and for the next generation of disabled people, we have to act now. Call your Senators and tell them to vote NO on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Support our work

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Thursday November 15, 2018
6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

The Hamilton
600 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20005

Join us for our annual celebration and fundraising event our annual celebration and fundraising event at The Hamilton in Washington, DC. Dinner and dessert will be served and a reception will precede dinner. Proceeds will support our advocacy work and programs for the coming year, and allow us to continue working to empower disabled people across the country. 

Honorees and speakers will be announced in the coming weeks. 

For more information about gala sponsorship opportunities, contact Jean Winegardner at jwinegardner@autisticadvocacy.org.

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Dear friends,
It’s been a busy few weeks, so let’s get caught up on what we’ve been up to. Last month we had our 7th annual Disability Day of Mourning, with vigils held at 50 sites across 3 countries alongside our livestreamed virtual vigil. The annual vigils are an important part of our community-building work, and we’re grateful to everyone who volunteered to coordinate a local vigil and all those who attended.

All this month, we’re celebrating another important time for our community: Autism Acceptance Month. During Autism Acceptance Month, we focus on sharing positive, respectful, and accurate information about autism and autistic people. You can visit AutismAcceptanceMonth.org to learn more, and click here to check out some new merch designs we’ve created for this year’s celebration that you can proudly display.

Finally, we still have a job opening for the position of Programs Coordinator here at ASAN. The Programs Coordinator helps make events like the Day of Mourning vigils and Autism Acceptance Month possible, and we actively encourage people of color, people from low-income backgrounds, and people from the LGBTQ community to submit applications to join our growing team.


Zoe Gross
Director of Operations 
Autistic Self Advocacy Network

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Updated: 29 January 2018


Two dangerous products are currently being peddled as ‘cures’ for autism: 

  • *GcMAF, an unlicensed blood product 
  • *MMS, a bleach banned for human consumption 
Do not use these products in any circumstances. They could be very harmful.

There is no proper scientific evidence of any kind that any products ‘cure’ autism, and these products are dangerous. The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency say you should not use GcMAF or MMS. The Food Standards Agency have also warned against using MMS. These authorities continue to investigate people selling these products. 


A ‘cure’ for autism?

Autism is a lifelong condition. There is no ‘cure’ and the idea of aiming to ‘cure’ autism is often deeply upsetting for people on the autism spectrum and their families, who see autism as a part of themselves or their loved ones.
Autism can present many challenges but there are many approaches and forms of support that can help transform autistic people’s lives, whether in employment, independent living or a care setting. 
We urge family members looking for support to seek out reliable information before making any decisions about approaches, from trained local professionals, NICE guidance or our own information

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) looks regularly at what support works best for autistic people. Its Quality Standard on autism explains which interventions and therapies are effective and rules out others. You can also find out what approaches we have found helpful during the 50-plus years we’ve been working with autistic people here 


What are we doing to help stop people using these products

For over two years, we have been running a digital advertising campaign so that people who are searching for these products get directed to reliable information. Over 30,000 people have seen these adverts. We think this is the best approach to educating people as only people who have heard of these products see this information. The last thing we want to do is make people who do not know about these products find out about them and use them. 
We have supported journalists researching the sale and use of these products, so that they have proper information about how damaging they are. By working with journalists, we have successfully managed to stop harmful stories about these ‘cures’ making it to national media. 

We are part of the Westminster Commission on Autism, a cross-party, cross-sector group of Parliamentarians, autistic people, parents/carers, charities, academics and health professionals, who are undertaking an inquiry into the issue of fake cures/therapies for autism. 


We have also tried to understand how many people have used or consider using these products. For example, we have reached out to our volunteer-run branches but we have struggled to be sure of the level of demand. Two national media outlets have also struggled to find evidence of people using these chemicals. 


However, our charity is, of course, not in contact with every person on the autism spectrum or their family members in the UK, so we can’t be certain how many people may be considering using these products. We also know how difficult life can be for families who can’t get support and how vulnerable they might be to claims from dubious individuals or companies.

This is why it’s so important that families have access to up-to-date and robust information about support, therapies and interventions and report any concerns they have. If you know someone who is considering any form of this treatment, please send them to this webpage. 
What to do if you’re concerned about a company or claim


If you are concerned about the practice of an individual or company or the claims they’re making in relation to autism and therapies and interventions, please contact the relevant authorities below.


What else can be done?


It’s important to do everything we can to make sure vulnerable autistic people and their families don’t fall for claims made about dubious and/or dangerous autism treatments and ‘cures’. We believe the most effective things are to: Prevent people wanting to use these products

  • So we give the public accurate and evidence-based information about which support, strategies and interventions can help.
  • And we campaign and work with professionals to improve support for autistic people and their families, so they don’t fall into crisis and feel the need for untested therapies and interventions. 

Stop people marketing and selling these products

  • So we tell the police or other authorities if anyone is selling or marketing dangerous products so they can investigate and stop their supply (see below for more information and contacts). 
  • And we work with the Medicines Healthcare and Regulatory Authority to support their investigations. 

Do we need new laws to stop this?

Some campaigners are calling for specific legislation to be introduced to stop the supply, marketing and use of dangerous therapies and interventions – often marketed as ‘treatments’ or even ‘cures’. Our charity shares their concern and agrees that dangerous products should not be sold or distributed. We’re always open to ideas on how to address this, and to adapting our approach (outlined above), but we do not believe that new laws are what is needed. This is because:

There are existing safeguards in place

  • It is illegal to administer a harmful or dangerous product to another individual and people doing this can be prosecuted as criminals and charged with assault. 
  • The UK’s 4 nations – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – have their own child protection system and laws to help protect children from abuse. All nations have laws covering situations where a child may be seriously harmed by abuse resulting in a potentially life-threatening injury or a serious and/or likely long-term impairment. This ‘impairment’ could be anything of physical or mental health or physical, intellectual, emotional, social or behavioural development.
  • There are already laws and regulations in place. Authorities governing medicine licensing, food and trading standards have the power to investigate and stop the sale of dangerous products. 
  • We would rather there was more effort on enforcing existing laws than bringing in new ones. This is why we are trying to raise awareness of the dangers of these products so they are understood and that, where appropriate, prosecutions can be pursued by the authorities. We would encourage people again, to raise their concerns (information above) to help make sure this happens. 

Unclear how a new law would help

  • There is very little evidence about the scale and nature of the problem, what any new law would look like, how it would work and whether it would be successful. Without this evidence, we cannot make the case for a new law to any government. 
  • We are unsure about how any new law would be enforced.  For example, these products are available on the internet and, as far as we understand, are often sold as individual ingredients and only become illegal when put together. They also form a ‘moving target’ as charlatans and quacks find other products to sell. 
  • We’re also concerned that legislation would not stop people desperate for any solution from seeking out products which are already unlicensed and sold through ‘unofficial’ channels. 
  • We believe the time, effort and money that would go into creating new legislation would be better and more effectively spent enforcing existing laws and systems. 
  • Given that there are already laws on the sale of dangerous products, we believe the best and quickest way of stopping the sale of these products is to make sure autistic people and their families get the support they need and have access to accurate and robust information about what works. 

How we campaign

There are hundreds of things which we would like change about policy and public attitudes to make the world work better for autistic people and family members. But, our campaign work is funded by donations, so we have to prioritise to make sure we make the most impact. Find out how we decide what to campaign about

Chris Packham Autistic Facts Posters

Fact fan, autistic man and National Autistic Society ambassador, Chris Packham, has put together a few of his favourite facts about autism to help school kids across the UK celebrate World Autism Awareness Week.


Download your free poster


World Autism Awareness Week is from 26 March to 2 April


There are lots of ways to join the celebration and raise vital funds to help some of the 700,000 autistic children and adults in the UK. You could put on a bake sale, hold a onesie non-uniform day or get classes to take on our 7K for the 700,000 challenge. Plus, we’ve got stacks of free learning resources for you, too. Whatever your school does, however small, you’ll be helping to make a huge difference to the lives of autistic people. On their behalf, thank you.


Sign up for your free schools’ fundraising pack

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Two-minute questionnaire could detect the disorder in children earlier than anything else

  • *The Rutgers University team created a two-minute questionnaire that could detect autism in toddlers earlier  
  • *The PDQ-1 questionnaire asks parents whether their child points or gestures to show interest, responds to their name, and relates to others
  • *The 10-question survey had an 88 percent likelihood of correctly identifying children with autism
  • *Since there isn’t a medical test to diagnose the disorder, pediatricians have to look at the child’s behavior and development to make a diagnosis 
  • *Many children aren’t diagnosed with autism until they are at least 5 years old


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5358897/A-two-minute-survey-detect-child-autism.html#ixzz56NwvvWlI
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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The fear response is triggered when facing danger. The “danger” could be not measuring up to a desired or imposed standard, not getting done what you set out to do, not fulfilling expectations (your own or someone else’s), being seen as less than perfect or failing at something. There is also the “danger” of not fitting in and being noticeably different from the norm. All these fears and anxieties stem from questioning your ability to cope with life’s challenges and people’s responses to your actions.


External messages from the media and authorities are also powerful triggers of anxiety and fear. Believing the world to be a dangerous place creates a pervading sense of powerlessness that undermines your personal power and inner strength in many different ways.

  • *Fear manipulates you into forgetting how strong and competent you really are.
  • *Fear negates your resilience. Feelings of helplessness trick you into believing that you do not have what it takes to tolerate hardship and bounce back from adversity.
  • *Fear narrows your focus to mainly notice problems, damage, hurt or harm.
  • *Fear impairs realistic thinking so the scale and likelihood of potential danger is often overestimated. Unless you live in a war zone, a dangerous neighborhood, an abusive relationship or have just experienced a significant natural disaster, most commonly assumed dangers are less prevalent or disastrous than imagined.
  • *Avoidance is one of the responses to fear. Self-imposed restrictions on where you go or what you do limit your options and shrink your world.
  • *Fear sabotages creative self-expression. Instead of aiming for your aspirations and dreams you may censor yourself and remain within the safety of your comfort zone.


Read More …

How Fear Traps You into Being Someone You Are Not

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The messages we give to ourselves every day have enormous power. Anything that is repeated and repeated and repeated can become “truth” — even when it isn’t. Any coach will tell you that practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect but it certainly does make permanent.


Repeating negative messages can wear down our sense of self as surely as a constant stream of water will wear down even the hardest stone. Repeating positive messages, on the other hand, is more like creating a pearl in an oyster. With each additional positive message, our confidence and competence grows.


Positive psychologists have studied this extensively. As long ago as the 1950s, Abraham Maslow said that a self-actualized person is someone who focuses on her talents and strengths. Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center Dr. Martin Seligman, who has been called the father of positive psychology, has found that when people identify and use their top strengths regularly, they can be more productive and can experience a high level of self-esteem. (If you’d like to identify your top strengths, you can take Dr. Seligman’s free quiz).


Read in Full:


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I am now retired and conducting research on killing in combat zones. I served as a medic in the Air Force at Andrews Air Force Base (AFB) in the emergency room of Malcolm Grow hospital. I served from Nov. 1969 to Nov. 1973. There I was, also part a team who started to process prisoner of war (POW) airmen. I also served temporary duty (TDY) at Lackland AFB treating airmen who were transferred out of Vietnam and presenting with substance use disorder (SUD). I never served in Nam. Upon discharge and with the GI Bill, I obtained my advanced degrees in clinical social work and psychology.


During my 1977 thruough 2000 stint at the Altoona Hospital as a BHC clinician, I had the privilege of conducting psychotherapy in our outpatient clinic and treated some of my comrades referred to us from our local veteran affairs (VA) center. I did therapy with the armed combatants who killed and some of the field medics and corpsmen that killed; but far more importantly, could not save some of their brothers from death.


Prior to my military service, I studied psychology in college. I paid some attention to the Vietnam War and was comforted by my deferment from the draft. The day I graduated from college, my protection ended. I did not go into teaching and would have had an additional deferment.


During my time in college, I had serious reservations about Vietnam and war in general. Though others protested Vietnam, I never did because of my respect for all men and women in the military. I detested those who protested as they directly, maybe not willingly, were supporting our enemy. So, once I lost my deferment protection, I enlisted in the Air Force mainly because my chances of having to kill someone were greatly reduced. After completing basic, I enrolled in medical training at Sheppard AFB. By the grace of God, my first and only duty station was Andrews.


Read in Full:


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