Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts
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Our Mission and Principles


Gathering people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, their families, their friends, their advocates and those who provide support, Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts (AFAM) speaks in one voice to build the capacity of our communities to welcome, fully include and support people with ASD.


Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts will strive to assure the human and civil rights of individuals of all ages across the entire Autism Spectrum and promote the availability of essential supports so that they may live fully and enjoy the same opportunities as other citizens of the Commonwealth.  We will educate individuals with ASD, their families and other AFAM members/supporters to be effective, vigorous agents of change.

Guiding Principles

In our work we will:

  • Assure respect and dignity for individuals with ASD and their families by promoting positive views and valued roles for children and adults with ASD
  •  Seek to identify and eliminate the barriers facing people with ASD in Massachusetts
  • Work in partnership with policy makers, educators, practitioners, disability groups and other advocates to build consensus and momentum for improving and expanding supports and resources for people with ASD
  • Seek ways to empower people with ASD and their families to direct the course of their lives with needed, flexible supports and take full advantage of available resources
  • Recognize that each person with ASD is unique and that the most effective supports are those that are individualized.
  • Work to include individuals with ASD in all aspects of AFAM’s efforts.


Autism is a complex neurobiological disorder that inhibits a person's ability to communicate, respond to surroundings and form relationships. It is associated with rigid routines and repetitive behaviors. Symptoms can range from very mild to quite severe. It is part of a group of disorders known as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Today, 1 in 150 individuals in the US is diagnosed with an ASD, Which makes it more common than pediatric cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social economic groups and is 4 times more likely to strike boys than girls. In Massachusetts, the rate of ASDs is even higher - 1 in 122!! Click here for results of the latest study - Prevalence Estimates of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders in Massachusetts - Final Report, December 2005

This page was last updated 14 December 2009

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