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Autism Network International (ANI)

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Locations
Autism Network International (ANI)
P.O. Box 35448
Syracuse, NY 13235-5448
United States
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Website
http://www.autreat.com/



Autism Network International (ANI)

Autism Network International, an autistic-run self-help and advocacy organization for autistic people.

The philosophy and goals of ANI are:

  • The best advocates for autistic people are autistic people themselves - ANI is run by and for autistic people.
  • Autistic lives are meaningful and worthwhile lives.

Autism Network International, an autistic-run self-help and advocacy organization for autistic people.

The philosophy and goals of ANI are:

  • The best advocates for autistic people are autistic people themselves - ANI is run by and for autistic people.
  • Autistic lives are meaningful and worthwhile lives.
  • Supports for autistic people should be aimed at helping them to compensate, navigate, and function in the world, not at changing them into non-autistic people or isolating them from the world - ANI provides a forum for autistic people to share information, peer support, and tips for coping and problem-solving.
  • Autistic people of all ages and all levels of ability and skill are entitled to adequate and appropriate support services - ANI advocates for appropriate services and civil rights for ALL autistic people.
  • Autistic people have characteristically autistic styles of relating to others, which should be respected and appreciated rather than modified to make them "fit in." - ANI provides a social outlet for autistic people to explore and participate in autistic social experiences.
  • In addition to promoting self-advocacy for high-functioning autistic adults, ANI also works to improve the lives of autistic people who, whether because they are too young, or because they do not have adequate communication skills, are not able to advocate for themselves - ANI helps autistic people who are unable to participate directly by providing information and referrals for parents and teachers, and by educating the public about autism.

In the last thirteen years, Autism Network International has grown from a small group of penpals meeting for the first time in a small apartment, to an international community of autistic people who meet online, in small informal meetings in private homes, and in their own communal space at Autreat. They have certain shared values in affirming the validity of their way of being. They have many common experiences both with the experience of autism itself, and with being autistic in a world of neurotypicals. They have a history of significant events experienced by their community. They have a dynamic, constantly-evolving set of customs and rules growing out of their shared experiences and their common needs. They have certain terms, expressions, and in-jokes that are distinct to their community. They have children whose parents are helping them grow up knowing that it’s okay to be autistic, knowing other autistic children and autistic adults, knowing that they’re part of this community. The children who attended the first Autreat are teenagers now; the children whose parents were among the early members of ANI-L are now young adults. It will be interesting to see what this first generation of ANI children will bring to their community, and to the world, as they come into their own.

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