Aspies For Freedom

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Aspies For Freedom
Formation2004; 19 years ago (2004)
FounderAmy Nelson, Gwen Nelson
PurposeDisability advocacy

Aspies For Freedom (AFF) is a solidarity and campaigning group that aimed at raising public awareness of the autism rights movement. The aim of Aspies For Freedom is to educate the public that the autism spectrum is not always a disability, and that there are advantages as well as disadvantages.[1] For this purpose, the group organizes an annual Autistic Pride Day.[2] AFF provides support for the autistic community and protests attempts to cure autism.[3]


Established in 2004 by Amy and Gwen Nelson, AFF has received coverage from publications such as New Scientist magazine.[4] As of August 2007, The Guardian estimated the group's membership at 20,000.[3] Rob Crossan, writing for the BBC, mentioned their belief that higher functioning autistics are often in possession of extraordinary talents in the fields of mathematics, memory, music or arts.[5]

Current activities[edit]

AFF provides a chatroom[6] which provides support for autistics and their carers such as family members. AFF also helps organise and encourage meetups within the autistic community.


Gwen Nelson, the founder of Aspies For Freedom, has made internet parodies of Autism Speaks, saying that they were silencing opposing views.[7] Aspies For Freedom petitioned the United Nations in 2004 to have members of the autistic community recognised as a minority status group.[8] A statement was released from the group titled 'Declaration of the autism community'. This article detailed reasons for seeking such official recognition from the United Nations and the work towards achieving this.[9] AFF was cited by The Guardian as a resource for autism employment assistance.[10] Gwen Nelson and Aspies For Freedom have spoken out against prenatal genetic testing for autism spectrum disorders, portraying autism as a difference as opposed to a disease.[3][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bernier, Raphael; Gerdts, Jennifer (2010). Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Reference Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 82. ISBN 9781598843347.
  2. ^ "Autistic Licence". Times Online. London. 31 December 2005. Archived from the original on 3 January 2006. Retrieved 8 November 2007.
  3. ^ a b c Saner, Emine (12 August 2007). "G2: 'It is not a disease, it is a way of life'". The Guardian. London. p. 12.
  4. ^ Trivedi, Bijal (18 June 2005). "Autistic and proud of it". New Scientist. London. Archived from the original on 15 August 2007. Retrieved 8 November 2007.
  5. ^ Crossan, Rob. "Ouch Q&A #19: Aspies". Ouch! It's a disability thing. BBC. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Biever, Celeste (2 February 2008). "Dispute rages over who speaks for autistic people". New Scientist. 197 (2641): 9. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(08)60259-6.
  8. ^ Groner, Rachael (2012). "Sex As Spock". In McRuer, Robert; Mollow, Anna (eds.). Sex and Disability. Duke University Press. p. 279. ISBN 978-0822351542.
  9. ^ "Declaration From the Autism Community That They Are a Minority Group" (Press release). PRWeb, Press Release Newswire. 18 November 2004. Retrieved 7 November 2007.
  10. ^ "Work: Giving autistic people access to work". The Guardian. London. 17 October 2009. p. 2.
  11. ^ Caplan, Arthur. "Would you have allowed Bill Gates to be born? Advances in prenatal genetic testing pose tough questions". NBC News. Retrieved 12 June 2010.

External links[edit]