AFA has played a pioneering and path-breaking role in securing the rights of people with autism and demystifying the condition through ceaseless advocacy and various awareness drives. The focus has been to move away from seeing ‘disability’ as one homogeneous entity, to the understanding that the needs of individuals with autism are unique, and hence policies and services must be geared to cater to these specific needs.
In a largely voiceless sector, wherein the condition itself precludes the existence of a large number of self-advocates, AFA has been the voice of those with autism. We continue to lobby to secure the rights of the autism community, in any situation where persons with autism may be differentiated against purely because of their autism. Whether it is a child with autism being denied the right to board an aircraft or being asked to leave a mainstream school, AFA has brought parents, media and the general population together against such discrimination.
Advocacy at AFA has taken many forms over the years:
* Over the years, Action for Autism (AFA) has organized a multitude of enjoyable events like charity dinners, concerts, autism walks all of which incorporate a ‘fun element’ whilst raising awareness about and advocating for the rights of people with autism. read more
* In a country where appropriate legislation and services for people with disabilities are few and far between, the advocacy drives led by AFA have helped establish some effective policies and legislation, catering to the specific needs of individuals with autism in India. read more
* Where possible AFA strongly supports individuals with Autism to be self-advocates. read more
* The mandate of AFA is to create an inclusive environment where people with autism can live and work as fully participating members of their community. AFA continues, successfully to place many children with autism in mainstream schools, and provides the necessary support to remain in that inclusive education setting. read more
* Apart from routinely making information available to promote awareness and providing training to parents and professionals, AFA has conducted professional awareness projects to facilitate early and accurate diagnosis, provide relevant information about autism and on how to provide further assistance to parents of children with Autism. read more
* AFA continues to actively raise awareness through the media among the general public: through print and electronic, social networking etc. Team members from AFA are often approached by print and electronic media to share information about autism. AFA also has made available an awareness film on autism from South Asia, titled 'Autism: An Indian Perspective.' read more
* Another form of advocacy that AFA undertakes to strengthen and empower the autism community is through interactions and partnerships with other non-governmental organisations and persons interested in autism, both within India and abroad. These relationships help in the sharing of experiences and ensuring that support is provided to as many families as possible.
* Members of AFA have presented at and attended conferences in various countries like Scotland, the U.S., Denmark, the Philippines, Australia to name a few.
* We also have active collaborations with national autism organisations in several countries.
* AFA represents South Asia in the World Autism Organisation (WAO), based in Europe.
* AFA has formalised a sister school relationship with Heartspring, and Autism ACTION, both worldwide centres for children with special needs based in the U.S. These partnerships offer the opportunity for additional support through a cultural and informational exchange between the staff and the teachers.
* Within India, AFA participates in activities of organisations dealing with the mentally and physically challenged to help foster relationships with regional groups.