Autism doesn’t end with childhood. It lasts a lifetime.

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) face many challenges throughout their life span. In some cases, the challenges and impairments are severe, in others’ they may not be immediately obvious. Despite these challenges, people with ASD have many strengths and can make significant contributions to society.

Improved community understanding of autism is critical to improving outcomes for children and adults with ASD. Self-advocacy — or the meaningful involvement of individuals with autism in making policy at all levels — is also essential to this process. An Autism Friendly Community will support self-advocacy, as well as advocacy by family members and other autism allies. By listening to input from those living with autism, the community can advance public policy initiatives that will provide needed improvements in the quality of life and full access to society for people on the spectrum.

Autism McLean and its partners identified six quality-of-life categories for our Autism Friendly Community aspiration.

6 AFC aspirations for being an autism friendly community:

Welcome me
Expand awareness, informed service, social supports and civic engagement opportunities for people with autism

Learn with me
Create educational opportunities for people with autism

A Place for me
Ensure appropriate housing, neighborhood and transportation for people with autism

Wellness for me
Provide healthcare and wellness opportunities for people with autism

Work with me
Employ people with autism in meaningful jobs and careers

Recreation for me
Create play and leisure opportunities for people with autism

Check out our whitepaper about autism needs and opportunities in McLean County, Illinois.