On July 22, 2013, AFAA held its annual retreat at the new Center for Autism and
Developing Brain. Members pictured above in the CADB gym.
Advancing Futures for Adults with
Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) is a consortium of national, regional and local autism organizations that seeks to set national priorities and to transform public policy and programming for adolescents and adults with ASD. In 2008, NEXT for AUTISM and Autism Speaks co-founded AFAA.
More than 1 million people have been identified on the autism spectrum in the United States, and it is believed that at least 80 percent of these individuals are younger than 22. These people will soon become adults with ASD; yet, society has not begun to design and develop a set of quality, coordinated and comprehensive services, on the necessary scale, to meet their needs. There is great potential for individuals with ASD to become employed and engaged citizens yet they are more limited by the failure of the systems charged with supporting them than by the challenges of the disorder.
AFAA aims to:
Create and drive public policy change that will support adults with autism to become fully participating members of their communities.
Lead a national dialogue to increase awareness of the challenges and opportunities for adults with autism to lead full and meaningful lives.
Be a portal of information on research, programs and services for adults with autism and their families.
Act as a catalyst in developing strategies and coordinating efforts to improve the quality of services and supports for adults with autism and their families.
AFAA has promoted a national discussion around creating meaningful futures for adults with ASD –futures that include homes, jobs, recreation, friends and supportive communities.
In 2009, AFAA held a Think Tank in New York City. Among the participants were nationally recognized autism and non-autism experts, including program operators, university professors, and specialists from the public and private sectors who identified state-of-the-art residential supports, vocational, community integration and transition models. They discussed innovative approaches to improve models and create new solutions, resources beyond the government to be partners in these ventures, and national and state-specific challenges.
That following November, more than 1,000 participants from key stakeholder groups in numerous regions across the country were electronically linked to identify a national list of priorities, challenges, innovations, and best practices designed to address the needs of all relevant constituent groups.
In July 2010, AFAA held an Autism Congress in Washington, D.C. Autism advocates, policy experts, lobbyists, elected officials and university professors/researchers convened to discuss the development of an implementation plan that will provide cost effective, evidence-based solutions to effectuate the national agenda.
**denotes Founding Organization Chair