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Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism: A National Conversation

AmericaSpeaks newest case study highlights the 2009 Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism National Town Meeting. More than 1,000 people in 16 cities and online came together to set an agenda for addressing the service needs for adults with autism.

The 4-page case study can be downloaded here:

The Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) National Town Meeting was convened by a diverse consortium of national advocacy organizations concerned about creating a policy agenda to better serve the needs of adults with autism. Utilizing AmericaSpeaks’ highly interactive 21st Century Town Meeting® model, adults with autism, family members, advocates, elected officials, service providers and other community members shared their perspectives with others located across the country.

Participants spent the day developing a national policy agenda to address the unique needs of adults living with autism. The result was a set of prioritized strategies for tackling key issues and services for adults with autism, such as housing, employment and community life. Opportunities for action on the local level were also identified, and participants formed connections during the Town Meeting to support this important work.

AmericaSpeaks worked with AFAA to design and host a 21st Century Town Meeting®, featuring a central site in Chicago and webcast live to fifteen participating cities. Seventeen additional cities participated through virtual discussion tables.

AmericaSpeaks supported AFAA through a three-phase process:

  • Phase 1 featured a January 2009 workshop with leading academics and practitioners in the field.
  • Phase 2 created a large National Town meeting for stakeholders in November 2009.
  • Phase 3 concluded in July 2010; finalized the priorities from the Town Meeting and presented these to policymakers, including the U.S. Congress’ Autism Caucus.

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