Guiding Principles

We believe in many "autisms." Many millions of people have traits associated with autism. The NCSA, however, focuses on the burgeoning population of children and adults affected by severe forms of autism or related disorders. This population includes those who, by virtue of any combination of cognitive and functional impairments, require continuous or near-continuous, lifelong services, supports, and supervision. Individuals in this category are often nonverbal or have limited use of language, have intellectual impairment, and, in a subset, exhibit challenging behaviors that interfere with safety and well-being.

We face an urgent, mounting crisis. Due to its rapid increase in prevalence and the severity common in this disability, severe autism has developed into an urgent public health and social services crisis. Pragmatic policy reform to address the lifespan needs posed by severe autism-associated disability is needed, including empowering the nonprofit sector to provide a full continuum of programs, facilitating family and private investments in a wide array of housing and long-term care options, and crafting more efficient federal and state funding mechanisms.

We believe in the importance of treatment and intervention. Individuals and families affected by severe autism and related neurodevelopmental disabilities often suffer very low quality of life due to disruptive and dangerous behaviors and emotional, physical, and financial stress. Innovation in treatment across the lifespan is urgently needed, both to improve autism-associated functional deficits and also the variety of co-morbidities and health conditions affecting the majority of people with severe forms of autism.

What We Do
We are committed to improving the long-term welfare of individuals, families and caregivers affected by severe forms of autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. To that end, we:

  • Educate the public about these disabilities, and how they require special attention and services.

  • Provide a platform for think tanks and serious discourse addressing policy and services.

  • Educate policy makers about the impact of legislation and policy on our vulnerable, growing, and often overshadowed population.

  • Promote research into therapeutics, neurobiology, and causes of severe forms of autism and related disabilities.

  • Promote acceptance and awareness of individuals, families, and caregivers affected by severe forms of autism by giving voice to their realities and needs.

For more information, please see our FAQs and Position Statements.

Photos: Bruce Hall

Photos: Bruce Hall

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