The Autistic Strategies Network is a collaborative initiative by autistic people to optimise autism individually and in society.
“Optimising autism” means making our autism work as well as possible.
We started in South Africa and focus on Africa. We collaborate internationally.
We make mistakes and learn along the way. We invite you to join our journey.
Along with activists from around the continent, we contribute to the Autism in Africa | CRPD project on Twitter and Facebook. Join our mailing list for news of CRPD training events.
A Rights-Based Approach to Communication and Therapy
Communication is a human right. Here we share some resources which we’re using in a presentation about this topic for allied health professionals interested in working with autistic people who don’t speak.
ASN Allies Strategy Meetings 2022
During June and July, we’re holding strategy meetings with the leaders of ten of the African NGOs and working groups that have partnered with us over the past 8 years, and with the autistic people who inspire their them.
Messages for Autism Awareness Month 2022
“All this drama about Autism Awareness Day is too much. It’s a much hated day by many autistics. I hate it too. Just too patronising for words.”
African autistics brace for an onslaught of ableist abuse from PAABA
“This is heartbreaking,” wrote Kenyan autistic activist Karen Muriuki as PAABA officials began blocking autistic people from commenting on their standard of ethics during the launch of the organisation online. “Why silence autistic Africans who are advocating for disability and human rights? This a total violation of CRPD Articles 7, 15 and 16.”
“There’s need for continental awareness and education of autism that is autistic led in order to change that narrative.”
Karen Muriuki, Autistic activist, Kenya, on witchcraft prejudices against autistic people
Rise of the nonspeaking autistic revolution in South Africa
In February 2021, nonspeaking activist Zekwande Mathenjwa became a member of the newly-formed Special Interest Group (SIG) on Autism established by the Ethics Committee of the SASLHA, the national body for Speech, Language and Hearing professionals in South Africa.
Our focus areas for Africa and South Africa in 2021
Here are some of our provincial (Western Cape), national (South African) and continental (African) focus areas for 2021.
Nonspeaking autists’ experiences of ABA
ABA is a behaviour modification method for the ‘treatment’ of autism. It is used particularly with autistic children who struggle with communication and self-regulation. ABA is touted as being ‘evidence-based’, in spite of there being little evidence of support from the community ABA purports to serve. This article, written for a South African audience, includes perspectives of several non-speaking autistics on their ABA experiences.
In the pipeline
We’ve been involved in workshops, conferences and social initiatives for several years. The Autistic Health Seminar 2018 was the first learning event for health professionals presented entirely by autistic people. Here’s what was on the agenda. We’re planning the next one for 2024.
Our founder, Tania Melnyczuk, is on Mastodon.