Sunday, July 20, 2008

Meeting Minutes, July 2008

At the meeting, we had both ASAN Southwest Ohio members and new visitors from the Columbus area who are interested in organizing an ASAN Central Ohio chapter. We talked about the lack of useful social groups for autistics in Columbus. Although there are a few groups led by professionals that focus on improving social skills, the Columbus area currently does not have social and community organizations where autistic people can just get together, chat, and network.

We discussed the efforts made by ASAN on both a national and international level to develop meaningful community organizations and to promote the involvement of autistic citizens in public policy discussions. Having an ASAN chapter in Columbus will be helpful from a political standpoint because it is the state capitol and the members of the Central Ohio chapter will be able to get involved in committees and other state government activities.

Community organizations for autistics also are important because the younger generation can benefit from the experience of older autistics, through both formal mentoring programs and informal discussions. Young people need to know that although our society often is overly rigid in expecting everyone to have certain kinds of skills, having a different set of skills does not mean that there is something wrong with a person; rather, that is diversity. Today's autistic youth need to be helped to overcome the discouragement that many of them have faced and, instead, to find encouragement.

We talked about the need for better and more inclusive programs in the schools. Sometimes autistic children are treated as if they are disruptive and a nuisance, when the real problems are lack of understanding, negative expectations, and failure to provide simple accommodations. The effect of the classroom on the child should be considered, not just the child on the class.

ASAN Southwest Ohio has offered to help with setting up a new blog for the ASAN Central Ohio chapter.

edit: The new blog is at


Ari Ne'eman said...

Please let the Columbus folks know I will be arriving there on Friday and would like to meet with them, if possible.

asansouthwestohio said...

Ari, your message has been passed on to them.