"Charities...do not speak for us": Why some autistic advocates are against a coalition pushing for a National Autism Strategy

Hundreds of non-profits, charities, and advocates are part of the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance’s call for a federal National Autism Strategy.

Why It Matters

Autistics have spent decades being talked over and mistreated by both non-profits and the broader medical community. Some advocates want autism non-profits to step out of the way entirely — and the sector should hear them out.

When an Australian organization reached out to Autistics 4 Autistics Ontario, to get their take on their country’s proposed national autism strategy, the Canadian advocacy group had a firm but simple answer: We oppose it. 

A National Autism Strategy (NAS) to help autistics, their families, and health providers has been talked about for nearly 15 years in Canada. Hundreds of non-profits, charities, medical associations, and individuals have banded together through the Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorder Alliance (CASDA) to push the federal government for a comprehensive plan. But A4A and other autistic advocacy networks believe Canada’s proposed National Autism Strategy (NAS) is a waste of money, time, and effort that will not help autistic Canadians.

Why is that? CASDA’s membership. Anne Borden, co-founder of A4A Ontario, says CASDA includes organizations such as t

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