The Autism Society is constantly striving to bring the best services and support to all those affected by autism. In pursuit of that effort, The Autism Society has recently received a grant from the Taproot Foundation to allow us to complete a review of our branding and marketing efforts to best inform all impacted by autism and others on the work we do each and every day. We have also additionally been accepted as a “pro bono” client by Moxie, a national advertising & marketing firm. We believe it is now time to let the entire nation know of our work, and why & what our national network of 100 amazing affiliates do each and every day to help individuals with an autism diagnosis maximize their quality of life.
The other day, we met with the experts helping us on this effort to begin the discussion of how we can let people know what we do and why we do our work each day. Until now, we have been quiet in our marketing and promotion but after we completed our recent strategic plan, we concluded that our work is not only valuable and important to all impacted by autism, but it is needed. We also know that when parents learn that their son or daughter has been diagnosed with autism, that the agency they turn to first will likely be the agency they have a lasting relationship with throughout their life. We want to have parents call us first! We know that when an autistic individual or his or her family interacts with one of our affiliates, success occurs throughout their life. We know that we will be there for that person and family for as long as needed. We know we need to promote options, because each person we help can’t rely upon just one or a select few of our supports and services for their successful journey in achieving the highest quality of life possible.
We also know that if we are going to really improve the quality of life of all impacted by autism, then we must let those not impacted know about our work and why it is so important. Autism is very difficult to describe to people, and sometimes if we are honest with each other, the autism community complicates the message regarding what is needed. Some argue for a cure and cause; we argue for services and support. Some promote support for one age group; we want to help all impacted no matter what age. Some seek to create battles within the autism community by attacking those who disagree with their views. We don’t, we want solutions. But we also know that we aren’t doing the required job to explain what autism is to those who aren’t impacted by it.
For example, we, like others in the autism community, describe the characteristics of autism and how we help people advance their well-being. That is important, but I believe we also need to define that when a person has an autism diagnosis, he or she is more likely to be unemployed, denied viable housing options, unnecessarily discriminated throughout his/her educational schooling, and live a life with an income below the poverty level. A person with autism is more often bullied than others and denied many opportunities that most people take for granted.
I mention this all because as part of our examination of branding and marketing, we are also wanting to demonstrate that autism is also a civil-rights and human-rights issue. We want to better partner with the national agencies that address poverty prevention, employment, and much more. Until we create a nation that regularly wants to employ a person with autism, assure for a quality education for each person with autism, and eliminates the far too many unnecessary obstacles placed in the way of success for a person with autism, we really won’t be as successful as we must. We need to get all in our nation to embrace the belief that each person with autism is valued, respected and held to the highest level of dignity and must be provided every opportunity for the highest quality of life each and every day. We are now beginning that journey to make that happen.
Source: The Autism Society