Our commitment to addressing racial disparities in the autism community

June 10, 2020

At Autism Speaks, we are reflecting on the social unrest in our country and its intersection with our work in support of people with autism, especially those in minority communities who face greater disparities. We are listening to and learning from the members of our community who shared their experiences.  

We’ve heard from many constituents with concerns for themselves as Black autistic adults and as parents of Black children on the spectrum, and we support those who seek action to help Black families feel safe in and outside of their own communities. 

We are committed to listening, evolving and working with our diverse community today, tomorrow and well into the future to create a world that is more inclusive, empathetic and understanding for all. We commit to: 

  1. Listen to internal and external stakeholder groups that reflect the diversity of the populations we serve, specifically including the Black community.  
  2. Learn more about how we can support sustainable change for Black people with autism. 
  3. Educate to increase understanding, acceptance of all people with autism and those who care for them, with a focus on minority communities where the need is much greater.  
  4. Advocate with and for the entire autism community, with a focus on enhancing research, services and supports that meet the diverse and individual needs of people with autism and their families.  
  5. Invest in programs that can help all people with autism to reach their full potential, including funding organizations that meet the specific needs of Black communities and communities of color. We are relentlessly pursuing recruitment, communication and retention practices that prioritize diversity, inclusion and equity within our own organization.  

To ground us in this important work, we will take stock of efforts we’ve made toward addressing racial disparities within each of our five mission objectives. From this starting point, we can learn and grow.  

From our continued commitment to closing the diagnosis gap, to investing in a deeper understanding of the health disparities among our diverse community, to our efforts to ensure access to interventions for those in minority populations… we’ve started the work.  

But we can, and we must, do more. 

We welcome and invite an ongoing dialogue. Please reach out to us on social media or via ConnectWithUs@autismspeaks.org.  

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You can also reach the Autism Response Team by phone or email: 888-288-4762, en Espanol 888-772-7050, or help@autismspeaks.org.