Aspies For Freedom
|Autism rights movement|
Aspies For Freedom (AFF) was a solidarity and campaigning group that aimed at raising public awareness of the autism rights movement. The aim of Aspies For Freedom was putatively to educate the public that the autism spectrum is not always a disability, and that there are advantages as well as disadvantages. For this purpose, the group organized an annual Autistic Pride Day. AFF provided support for the autistic community and protested attempts to cure autism.
Established in 2004 by Amy and Gareth Nelson, AFF received coverage from publications such as New Scientist magazine. As of August 2007, The Guardian estimated the group's membership at 20,000. 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.
Gareth Nelson, the founder of Aspies for Freedom, has made internet parodies of Autism Speaks, saying that they were silencing opposing views. Aspies For Freedom petitioned the United Nations in 2004 to have members of the autistic community recognised as a minority status group. 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. AFF was cited by The Guardian as a resource for autism employment assistance. Gareth 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 disability.
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