October 2018



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Archive for October, 2018


There are many benefits to having a fulfilling job – and when we have the supports we need, disabled people can succeed at jobs that pay well and bolster our self-confidence. There are policies in place to help disabled people find and keep good jobs, like Employment First. But there are also policies that have kept us stuck in low-paying jobs away from our communities.


It’s important for self-advocates to understand employment policy and how things could be different—so that we can effectively advocate for an end to policies that hurt us, and for the adoption of policies that help us. That’s why we’re pleased to announce our latest plain language toolkit, Real Work For Real Pay: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Employment Policy.


This toolkit explains:


  • *What Employment First is
  • *What sheltered workshops are
  • *What the minimum wage is
  • *The law that lets some companies pay disabled workers less than minimum wage
  • *How we can solve problems disabled people have with employment
  • *What work requirements are, and why they are a bad idea for people with disabilities


The Employment toolkit is available in two versions: an Easy Read Edition and a Plain-Text Version. Both versions are written in easy-to-understand language and are screenreader-friendly.

Real Work For Real Pay: A Self-Advocate’s Guide to Employment Policy is the latest entry in ASAN’s ongoing series of accessible toolkits covering important policy issues. These toolkits aim to help people with disabilities become active participants in our democracy. We encourage you to share this toolkit widely so that we can give as many self-advocates as possible the tools we need to advocate for policies that help us get real work for real pay!

Support our work

Red and orange-leafed trees line a path
Dear friends, 


In our last newsletter, we urged you to take action against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Together, we have kept that fight going all through September. Earlier this month, we sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee about our grave concerns about Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court – specifically, his proven record of supporting the right to strip disabled people of their self-determination and bodily autonomy. Since we sent that letter, many more horrifying elements of Judge Kavanaugh’s past have come to light. Despite this, the Senate Judiciary Committee has voted in favor of moving Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Senate floor for a vote – and that’s exactly where we’ll #StopKavanaugh. 


We also released a statement opposing this Administration’s proposed “Public Charge” regulation, which discriminates against disabled and low-income immigrants and makes pathways to American citizenship contingent upon wealth and the absence of disability. 


Finally, we’ve just announced the first of this year’s gala award recipients: DJ Savarese, writer and co-producer of the documentary Deej. Our annual gala will be held November 15th at The Hamilton in Washington, D.C., and we hope you’ll join us to celebrate self-advocacy, self-advocates, and the continued triumphs made possible by our community. 


Zoe GrossDirector of OperationsAutistic Self Advocacy Network 

2018 ASAN Annual Gala

A bouquet of colorful flowers.

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 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.


We’re happy to announce that David James Savarese is receiving the Harriet McBryde Johnson Award for Nonfiction!

Photo by Ali Lapetina for the Open Society Foundations 


DJ is an alternatively communicating autistic poet, essayist, and self-advocate and the writer and co-producer of the documentary Deej, which follows six years of his life from high school to college. Awarded a Peabody for its “inclusive filmmaking,” Deej is a groundbreaking film that demonstrates exactly why access to inclusive, literacy-based classrooms and alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) are vital for autistic people.  

DJ is an alum of ASAN’s Autistic Scholars and Autism Campus Inclusion (ACI) programs. He is currently a Youth Fellow at Open Society Foundations/Human Rights Initiative, where he works to make literacy-based education, communication rights, and inclusive lives available to all. His poetry and essays have been published in multiple journals and books, including his recently published chapbook A Doorknob for the Eye (Unrestricted Interest Press). We look forward to hearing from DJ at our annual gala and hope that you can come celebrate with us!


More honorees and speakers will be announced in the coming weeks.

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