Autism Interview #76: Amber Perry on Disability Advocacy

Amber Perry is an ASAN Chapter Leader and Representative for the Lane County Chapter of the Autism Society of Oregon. She started Central Oregon Autism Support Team (COAST) in Central Oregon and was a member and webmaster for the Bend-Redmond Asperger’s Support group. Today she is an active self-advocate and community and Kindtree volunteer and pending member of the Kindtree Board of Directors. This week Amber shared a few important topics for disability advocates.

Can you share your professional responsibilities? How did you become involved in your current line of advocacy work with ASAN?

I just filled out the necessary forms and got vetted (series of questions) and I was in! I’m still getting my ASAN chapter started, but with the Autism Society of Oregon I take calls and emails from those who may need a diagnosis and don’t know where to get it, etc.

What are some of the most inaccessible areas of life/society to those with disabilities?

 Oh gosh, employment, mental health services, and equal opportunity in general.

What ideas do you have for improving this access? 

More staff and more education on our disabilities. People need to be educated to understand that we are unique and that our disabilities are a part of who we are. 

What are some of the most important civil rights issue facing the disability community? Do you think society has made any progress in this area recently?

Equal opportunity–equality with our peers. An example would be employment. It is very difficult for those on the spectrum to find a suitable employer.

What mistakes do neurotypical autism advocates make?

I don’t know that they make any.

What are some specific examples of autism advocacy efforts you believe are effective? What makes them effective?

Talking with our legislators gets our info into the local and federal government. People should be talking about equal opportunity issues such as employment.

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