NEXT for AUTISM is honored and grateful to partner in the upcoming #ColorTheSpectrum benefit. Since the benefit was announced, there have been some outrageous misinformation circulating about NEXT for AUTISM – its mission, methods, and partners.
Eighteen years ago, NEXT for AUTISM was founded with the distinct purpose of providing supports and services for autistic individuals across the country. Our mission has never been the cure or prevention of autism; in fact, NEXT was created to fill a void - at the time, most national autism organizations were focused primarily on biomedical research. As we stated in our "Night of Too Many Stars" benefit shows, NEXT was founded specifically to address the extreme lack of schools and services desperately needed to help people living with autism right now.
NEXT partners with and funds various organizations across the country to fulfill our mission of expanding access to programs and services. Our partnerships with groups such as Autism Speaks have been limited exclusively to that mission. Anyone using these partnerships to draw a line from NEXT to eugenics or anything related to the prevention and cure of Autism is doing an enormous disservice to the people we serve by spreading this gross untruth.
The programs we support use a range of methodologies designed to meet the individual needs of people with autism. A behavioral approach is one of those methodologies. Applied Behavior Analysis has been modified many times over since its inception in the 1960s, and its evolution has spawned multiple variations that bear no resemblance to the kinds of conversion therapy treatments some are falsely claiming NEXT supports.
We understand the responsibility that comes with the support and attention we receive. Recently, we launched an Advisory Board to include much more representation from the autism community and have committed to including more Autistic board members in the future. We welcome all individuals to question and critique any of the choices we make. We only ask for an honest exchange of ideas and opinions. NEXT will never support any group seeking to eliminate or prevent autism or cause individuals with autism to feel lesser for being on the spectrum. As we have for 18 years, we support those experiencing the triumphs and challenges of living with autism.