Comments to Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC)

Today, January 18, 2022, Finn Gardiner submitted comments to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) on behalf of the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network and the Autistic People of Color Fund. The full comments with annotations can be read here, and an abridged version is provided below.

We encourage the Committee to prioritize funding for research on the disparities and inequities in service provision and outcomes that autistic people of color, queer and transgender autistic people, and autistic immigrants and refugees face. All autistic people are at higher risk of unemployment, poor health, and other adverse outcomes than their nonautistic counterparts, but racism as well as anti-queer, anti-transgender, and anti-immigration discrimination worsen these struggles. When research studies do not include or focus on diverse populations, this lack of information can be misinterpreted as indicating a lower prevalence of autism among these populations. This in turn can lead to underfunding services, programs, and research that could best support and respond to the specific needs of autistic people in marginalized communities.

We urge IACC to prioritize such research topics, including the following:

  • The mental health of autistic people of color, autistic immigrants, and autistic refugees.
  • The involvement of autistic people in autism research.
  • The use of anti-ableist language and approaches.
  • The effects of gender bias against women (both transgender and cisgender women), people with feminine gender expressions and presentations, and any people assigned female at birth with neurodevelopmental disabilities and co-occurring conditions
  • The effects of school disciplinary policies and the school-to-prison pipeline on autistic students of color.
  • The rate and effects of homelessness and unstable housing on autistic people

Read the full comments.