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      The Autism Society, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. We do this by increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy.
      Guiding Principles:
      The Autism Society and its affiliates are committed to these core principles:

      • We provide services without regard to a person’s age, race, religion, disability, gender, sexual orientation, income level or level of need on the autism spectrum
      • We strongly encourage and welcome families,professionals and individuals living with autism with opportunities to participate in our governance and on our committees
      • We partner with others to advance the well-being of all living with autism
      • We promote individual choice and self-determination of individuals living with autism, aided by parental and guardian advocacy
      • We recognize a person living with autism can and should be able to maximize his/her quality of life and oppose any denial of their opportunities
      • We oppose any discrimination and harm directed towards individuals living with autism and their families
      • We are transparent, responsible and accountable to those we serve, those who support us, and the general community in our stewardship of funds
      • We assure the confidentiality of our services – and adhere to required confidentiality laws, and regulations pertaining to such services
      • We strive to ensure our programs, services, and decisions are outcome-driven
      • We maintain independence from political partisanship and commercial interests
      • We respect the work of our affiliates and do not engage in actions that enhance one organization at the expense of others
      • We support data and evidence-based analyses of options informed by broad knowledge of educational, research, clinical, government, business and program services experience
      • We support an options policy and provide information on all options so individuals can exercise freedom of choice in their decision-making

      Option Policy

      The Autism Society promotes the active and informed involvement of family members and the individual with autism in the planning of individualized, appropriate services and supports. The Board of the Autism Society believes that each person with autism is a unique individual. Each family and individual with autism should have the right to learn about and then select the options they feel are most appropriate for the individual with autism. To the maximum extent possible, we believe that the decisions should be made by the individual with autism in collaboration with family, guardians and caregivers.
      Services should enhance and strengthen natural family and community supports for the individual with autism and the family whenever possible. The service option designed for an individual with autism should result in improved quality of life. Abusive treatment of any kind is not an option.
      We firmly believe that no single type of program or service will fill the needs of every individual with autism and that each person should have access to support services. Selection of a program, service or method of treatment should be on the basis of a full assessment of each person’s abilities, needs and interests. We believe services should be outcome-based to ensure they meet the individualized needs of a person with autism.
      With appropriate education, vocational training, community living options and support systems, individuals with autism can lead dignified, productive lives in their communities and strive to reach their fullest potential.
      The Autism Society believes that all individuals with autism have the right to access appropriate services and supports based on their needs and desires.
      – Adopted by the Autism Society Board of Directors, 4/1/1995
      – Revised by the Autism Society Board of Directors 12/12/2009