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Calls to Action

Expert Think Tank Focuses on Needs of Adults with Autism

June 11, 2009

Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) is a national consortium seeking to create meaningful futures for adults with autism that include homes, jobs, recreation, friends and supportive communities. The first step in this effort was to gather an Expert Panel/Think Tank to determine the priorities of this rapidly growing segment of the autism community.

The Think Tank, made up of affected families and individuals, program directors, university professors, public policy authorities and specialists from both the public and private sectors, met on January 23-24 in New York City. The three main areas of focus were housing, employment and community integration. They participants identified gaps in current services and laid out strategies for filling them. They also brainstormed broad solutions, such as creating an information clearinghouse to connect the autism community, a national public awareness campaign to debunk myths about autism, and political strategies for getting the issue on a national policy agenda. The group discussed ideas on how to effectively address these areas and has posted a summary report here.

The solution to the future of adults with autism isn't immediate and the AFAA aims to be thoughtful and methodical and in arriving at a strategy. The next step, which will build upon the results of the Think Tank, is a virtual National Town Hall meeting on November 13, 2009 incorporating input from 15 locations and more than 1000 stakeholders. For more information about this phase, please click here for the Town Hall section of the AFAA web site or contact Serena Selkin at sselkin@autismspeaks.org.