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|Aspies For Freedom|
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|Michelle Dawson · Jim Sinclair|
Aspies For Freedom is a group which is at the forefront of the autism rights movement. The term "Aspies" refers to high-functioning autistics, or those with Asperger's Syndrome, who seem to be "little professors." Established in 2004 by Amy and Gareth Nelson, it soon received supportive letters from such autism experts as Simon Baron-Cohen, Tony Attwood and Donna Williams as well as press from publications such as New Scientist magazine . The aim of Aspies For Freedom is to educate the public that autism is not always a disability and that there are advantages as well as disadvantages; for this purpose, the group organized Autistic Pride Day . The group also campaigns against abusive forms of therapy and the idea of a cure for autism.
The protest against National Alliance for Autism Research by then-AFF member Joe Mele was the first anti-cure protest by an autistic person that received international media coverage. Seen as a pivotal moment in the history of the autistic community, Mele's protest was followed shortly by a protest against NBC's Autism Speaks campaign. A protest against Cure Autism Now in 2005, and the current protest against the Judge Rotenberg Center for its use of electric shocks on autistic children .
Aspies For Freedom has an ongoing aim to have members of the autistic community recognised as a minority status group. This started in November 2004 after discussion and debate with members, after which a statement was released called 'Declaration of the autism community'. This detailed reasons for seeking such official recognition from the United Nations and the work continues towards achieving this.
The usage of the infinity symbol as a representation of autism, started by Aspies For Freedom in June 2004, was a reaction to the negative connotations associated with the jigsaw symbol commonly used by parents to represent autism. The jigsaw symbol was seen by much of the autistic community as an insulting reference to the fact that autistics can appear puzzling and in need of 'fitting in' with society. It was felt that the infinity symbol better represents autistics by representing logic, persistence, perseveration, and unity of form.
The website of Aspies For Freedom contains other resources for autistic people more oriented towards personal experiences of an autistic, including message forums and a MediaWiki-based encyclopedia. The group also runs an IRC chat network for autistic people on chatautism.com, which it claims to be the first network for that purpose . Online chatting is sometimes seen as essential to some with autism as a main source of social communication, as it is often easier for those with autism to communicate by typing. Offline branches of Aspies For Freedom include groups in Australia and Wales for those who wish to meet in real life.
See also[edit | edit source]
- List of autism-related topics
- Autistic culture
- Autistic pride
- Controversies in autism
- Asperger Syndrome
- Hans Asperger
Footnotes[edit | edit source]
- ^ Judge Rotenberg Center. URL accessed on July 30, 2005.
- ^ Autistic Licence. URL accessed on 31 December, 2005.
- ^ Explanation of first anti-cure protest at AFF. URL accessed on September 4, 2005.
- ^ includeonly>Harmon, Amy. "How About Not 'Curing' Us, Some Autistics Are Pleading", New York Times, 20 December 2004.
- ^ chatautism.com. URL accessed on July 30, 2005.
- ^ includeonly>Trivedi, Bijal. "Autistic and proud of it", New Scientist, 18 June 2005.
- ^ Status as a minority group. URL accessed on September 9, 2005.
[edit | edit source]
- Aspies For Freedom
- Autistic Pride Day, an AFF event organized in the spirit of Gay Pride Day
- Proposal for Aspies For Forgiveness campaign
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