These are FAA's position statements. Each one below represents and reflects our mission statement, which can be found above under "About".
Discrimination and Equity
We do not condone racism, sexism, queerphobia, ableism, anti-semitism, islamophobia, xenophobia, ageism, and classism. This organization does many different things to combat oppression, and we continue to work on these goals of ours. Education, policy changes, reports made to CPS, programs and services, assistance, advocacy, and activism are some of the things we are currently working on implementing; however, the list is continuing to grow, as we are new as an organization (we started in December of 2019).
If there is something you'd like to see happen, please let us know and we'll add it to our list of goals. Minority groups matter just as much to us as the privileged majority (including marginalized groups). We're here, and #weseeyou, even when no one else will.
Disability Rights and Neurodiversity
We are helping lead the Disability Rights movement in the United States, along with many other organizations in the United States, and around the world. Neurodiversity is real, it does exist, and it will never go away. The ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) allows autistic people to receive accessibility and accommodations; however, there needs to be improvement for the ADA in the US. The ADA needs to incoroporate anything mentioned in Amanda's blog post here. The ADA's 30th Anniversary was held on July 26, 2020. For those who have not seen #CripCamp, it is a highly recommended Netflix Documentary on the Disability Rights Movement. Disabled people deserve to be heard, as well as receive the same rights as everyone else. The autistic rights movement start in the 1990s, with Autism Network International. Autistic advocates are continuing the advocacy and activism that was started by ANI. The most note-able pioneers and pioneer organizations are The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), The Autistic Women & Non-binary Network (AWN), Autism Network International (ANI), Aspies for Freedom (AFF), and our organization being the first org to combat vaccine misinformation (FAA).
Self Advocacy and Autonomy
To be edited in the future
Harmful Bleach Cures and Products
As an organization, we do not support any harmful product, treatment, or cure that is perceived to fix or treat autism. Autism is not treatable, nor a disease. If someone is found to be using these products and cures on their children, we are obligated to report them to CPS. We do actively report these products to the United States Food and Drug Administration. Currently, MMS is banned in the US; however, other products are not banned, but are in the works of becoming banned specifically for autism: Chelation Treatments, GAPS, GcMAF, Malaria Medicine (should only be used to treat Malaria), Turpentine, Detoxifying Clay Baths, Essential Oils, Camel's Milk, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Electroconvulsive Shock Therapy, ECT, Enemas and bath soaks, Ozone Therapy (O3), and any other type of therapy or harmful product that claims that autism can be "healed" or "rid of" or "removed".
*Note: we edit this list over time as we discover more and more what people use to try and get "rid" of autism. Autism is not curable. Autistics do not consent to the US trying to eradicate us. That is a form of Eugenics, and autistics don't deserve to be Eugenicized. The Nazis did the same thing to the Jews, as well as people of color and disabled people, as well as LGBTQ+ folks in the 1940s. Autism is a lifelong neurological disability. We've not consented to a cure and we're not diseased, brain-injured, or broken, nor burdens. Molecular biology needs to be listening to their primary sources, not shutting them out due to personal agendas and ableism directed at them.
We do not support the need to address autism in therapy for therapist to fix or change their client's identity. It is something that an individual may have a hard time accepting, and that should be discussed instead. How the therapist approaches their client is also key. Autism often times is misunderstood as a mental disorder, or even a disease by some individuals. Harmful therapies oftentimes are expected or even demanded by the parent for their child. Sometimes they are even court-mandated (otherwise known as court-ordered). Yet, oftentimes we see patterns of systemic oppression in therapy that attempts to eradicate or fix autism. Therapy, like education, was founded upon ableism. It is not the job of the therapist to fix their client; rather, it is the job of the therapist to work with a client on goals that the client requests. It also must be understood that autistic people, especially autistic people of color and autistic LGBTQ+ people, are dehumanized due to history and people such as Ivar Lovaas, Bernard Rimland, and Leo Kanner. Which means that autistic people's behaviors are to be accepted, not minimized, manipulated, conditioned, etc. Working on goals around co-occuring mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, OCD, etc. are more important. Neurodiversity states that neurological disabilities are natural variations in the brain (this excludes disorders and conditions like Traumatic Brain Injuries, Alzheimer's, Dementia, etc.) such as learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and developmental disabilities. Mental disorders are seen as part of Neurodiversity, but they can be managed as long as the autistic individual's environment is being accommodated for.
The following harmful therapies are harmful Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Relationship Development Interaction (RDI), Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS), and Behavior Modification (BM). Individual methods and techniques create the abuse. Notably, DTT, TEACCH, ESDM (Early Start Denver Model), and other methods do not work. This is because early intervention is also rigorously harmful and not evidence-based. More reasons can be found in studies, blog posts, articles, etc. These autistic voices matter and are to not be trampled on.
We also see other unethical treatments, such as electroconvulsive shock therapy, ECT, Conversion Therapy (the US has only banned it in a total of 20 states), and any type of autism therapy that enforces behavior techniques intended to fix autism. Not all Autistics need therapy and we need to start accepting autism.
Autism Research is heavily biased and led mainly by non-autistic professionals. This is largely due to researchers before the 60s, as well as after the 60s. These researchers, in history, had privileges that autistic individuals, especially autistic people of color, autistic women, and LGBTQ+ autistic folks did not have and still do not. Many autistic people have not had successful careers in research because of some fields that silence our voices as a whole, as well as individuals that silence autistic individuals.
We continue to maintain the expectation and goal in the future that autistic research in the United States will be led more often by autistic people. Researchers need to accept autistic culture into their research, and this includes identity first language, including autistic voices in research, and organizations that reach out to autistic people for feedback about how to conduct research in a more ethical and effective way that is conducive to the rights of disabled people. We also hold the view that researchers should be working with autistic-led nonprofits to further their education, taking courses that improve their understanding of autism in the courses. False reporting and implicit bias are very prominent in research, and this creates a barrier for autistic rights in the United States.
We also need to make a note: while autistic people are the experts of themselves, not all autistics are researchers, and not all autistic folks who work in research have unlearned internalized ableism. Autistic activists' voices matter just as much as researchers when it comes to policy, ethics, and helping the autistic community. We do support the use of non-medical surveys, seeing as though autism is still very pathologized in society.
Education is meant to be inclusive. Segregation and isolation, as well as restraint and seclusion are not ways in which educators should be approaching their work with the autistic child they are teaching. There are many barriers to education that involve lack of accessibility in regards to accommodations. Those barriers involve gate keeping, red tape, silencing, the need to control, etc. And we also understand that intelligence is an ableist concept. The IQ test is heavily flawed, and does not help anyone who is intellectually or learning disabled in society. Learning is to be continued throughout our human lifetimes, and yet the autistic brain relies on information-based socializing. Those who are intellectually disabled matter heavily just as much as autistics who are not.
We want education to remove the word Special Needs, and change the system so that ABA and other harmful methods are not implemented into teaching. We also know that higher education is not friendly towards autistic culture, and some are changing this, but it is not enough. What does inclusion look like? Including non-speaking autistic folks into mainstream schools, as well as verbal children. Making public schools more accessible, as well as providing accessibility for those who are in college, and not just perceived standard accommodations. #InclusionMatters #MakeEducationAccessible Implementing Neurodiversity into college courses, as well as teaching for high school, middle school, and elementary school is necessary for understanding of the disability community as a whole. Allowing autistic educators to partake in the discussion in higher education is #inclusion. A disability coordinator who is disabled at a college campus who is receptive to feedback from student in relation to accessibility is inclusion. There are many situations where inclusion could take place.
We believe that healthcare must be universal for the country. Society focuses a lot on centrism, which hinders the perceptions on colonization, privilege, hegemony, queer theory, identity, culture, race, disability, etc. Our vaccine assistance program is one way to assist the lower class into universal healthcare. Healthcare needs to support the lower class, not just the middle and upper class. Healthcare also must be affordable, accessible, and safe. It must not violate ethics, and must not dismiss an entire community for feedback into how they can be further helped. When folks are reaching out to politicians, requesting for bills to be passed, it is because disabled folks are combatting systemic oppression, and that needs to be heard. #ActuallyAutistic folks need better accessibility to diagnosis, and the diagnosis itself needs to stop portraying autism as a medical disease, because the CDC is correct; vaccines do not cause autism. Healthcare needs to also stop silencing autistic children's voices when they are being abused or harmed by their family. Many, but not all non-autistic parents are some of our largest oppressors thanks to Ole Ivar Lovaas, as well as professionals. Autism is not and never will be quantitative. Doctors, psychiatrists, etc. need to stop viewing autism as a brain injury. The Molecular biology field also needs to also stop pathologizing autism. Healthcare must be able to recognize neurodiversity and the neurodiversity paradigm into its practice. Healthcare workers are not the experts of autism if they are not autistic themselves, and internalized ableism must also be unlearned for those who are autistic in healthcare. Therapists and parents cannot speak for their clients, nor can
Careers and Employment
Many autistic folks are struggling to find jobs, and many are homeless in the United States. Not everyone is privileged with a safe home to live inside. It is important for autistic folks to be able to work, but not everyone can work full time, and some may not even be able to work part time. Many Millennials and Generation Zers are unable to afford apartment fees because of minimum wage, low income, or sub-minimum wage. Just like our views on education with regards that an autistic person does not have to go to college (and should not feel manipulated into doing so if their family is enforcing it), jobs are not and should not be required for those who truly cannot work part time. Many autistic folks are multiply disabled; therefore with ABA and job pushing, it is extremely harmful to those who cannot work. It is not up to the parents for their daughter, son, etc., to work when they are adults. Job coaches also are sometimes trained in ABA techniques, which does not help the autistic community. There is a lot of bias in the workplace about autism, as autism has attached stigma to it, and autistic people should not feel like they can't be open about their autism in the workplace or feeling ashamed for not feeling accepted. HR should not be denying jobs, but there are many loopholes and the system is not actively working to change this in the neurotypical world. Autistic folks should also not be paid less than the privileged person. Internships should and must be paid, and hiring should never deny anyone on the basis of disability, race, gender, sexuality, religion, etc.
Support Programs and Assistance
To be edited in the future
Community Living and Assistance
To be edited in the future