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Purpose: Due to the developmental nature of autism, which is often diagnosed in preschool or elementary school-aged children, non-autistic parents of autistic children…
Purpose: Due to the developmental nature of autism, which is often diagnosed in preschool or elementary school-aged children, non-autistic parents of autistic children typically play a prominent role in autism advocacy. However, as autistic children become adults and adult diagnoses of autism continue to rise, autistic adults have played a more prominent role in advocacy. The purpose of this chapter is to explore the histories of adult and non-autistic parent advocacy in the United States and to examine the points of divergence and convergence.
Approach: Because of their different perspectives and experiences, advocacy by autistic adults and non-autistic parents can have distinctive goals and conflicting priorities. Therefore, the approach we take in the current chapter is a collaboration between an autistic adult and a non-autistic parent, both of whom are research scholars.
Findings: The authors explore the divergence of goals and discourse between autistic self-advocates and non-autistic parent advocates and offer three principles for building future alliances to bridge the divide between autistic adults and non-autistic parents.
Implications: The chapter ends with optimism that US national priorities can bridge previous gulfs, creating space for autistic adult and non-autistic parent advocates to work together in establishing policies and practices that improve life for autistic people and their families and communities.