The goal of this program is -
The ACI Summer Institute is a week-long training for Autistic college students. The training is meant to prepare students to engage in self-advocacy and pro-neurodiversity activism on their college campuses.And they are trying to recruit -
This is an exciting move forward for ASAN and we hope it can be an exciting move forward for you. If you are a current college undergraduate student who identifies on the Autism Spectrum, including Autistic Disorder, Asperger's Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, with a strong interest in the Disability Rights and Autistic Rights movements, we invite you to apply for this leadership training. Applicants must be currently enrolled in a higher education institute or college in the United States (including the District of Columbia), with at least one year left after completion of the leadership training.I have said it before and I will say it again. ASAN is a discriminatory organization that advocates only for the needs of the highest functioning while ignoring the needs of those who are actually disabled by their autism.
If you don't believe me then take a look at that last quoted paragraph. Do you notice the key phrases "identifies on the Autism Spectrum" and "Autistic Rights"?
The phrase "identifies on the Autism Spectrum" means that ASAN isn't necessarily looking for people who have an actual diagnosis of of autism - autism is a medical disorder that requires a diagnosis from a trained professional, after all. Instead they want to include everybody, including people who have decided on their own that they have some form of autism.
Because, you know, college students who have decided on their own that they have problems that might be related to some form of autism really should be advocating for needs of people who have been having severe problems their entire life because of autism.
If ASAN was looking to recruit people from all parts of the spectrum, as in a group of people who could represent the needs of everybody with autism, then they would be looking somewhere other than a college campus. After all, only the highest functioning are able to go to college and be successful there. The rest, i.e. the overwhelming majority, don't go to college at all, and, if they do, wouldn't be enrolled as a full time student.
No, ASAN is looking for a very specific type of people - people who are high enough functioning to be able to handle college or people who don't really have autism but think they do. This group is going to be very amenable to the idea that autism is some sort of civil rights movement, as in these people have a "strong interest" in the "Autistic Rights" movement.
If ASAN was really trying to improve the lives of adults with autism and teach them how to advocate on their own behalf, then they would be reaching out to the majority of adults with autism. They would be working on teaching this group to access the services that are out there and working towards making more services available.
Instead, ASAN is reaching out to those least affected by their autism and training them to talk about autism as some sort of civil rights movement.
They want to train these future "leaders" to shift the focus away from what the majority of people with autism need and to instead put the focus on what a small minority needs. A minority who "identifies" with a glorified version of autism and wants to preach about their "Autistic Rights".
Discrimination by any other name still stinks.