Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism Think Tank

Health Care, National Policy
New York City

This was the first phase of a 3-phase project called Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA). The AFAA Think Tank, brought together approximately 60 experts from a variety of areas from within the autism field (including residential and employment services) along with a number of people from other fields and perspectives (transportation, parks and recreation, restaurant industry, public safety, and others).

A Strategy to Better the Lives of Adults with Autism

During the two days the group brainstormed visions and strategies to better the lives of adults with autism in the areas of residential services, employment, and community integration. In addition, the group identified and developed strategies to address seven cross-cutting issues, including funding/resources, public awareness, and others. The process was highly interactive and included the use of a graphic facilitator and voting keypads.

Unprecedented Collaboration

Organizers were inspired by the range of people that came together around finding services for adults with autism. The issue of autism is one of 24 major issues that have been highlighted on President Obama’s agenda, and one of a very few health related issues (beyond health care reform) that he has made a priority. So this was indeed a very timely conference.

Results To Influence National Town Meeting and Legislative Efforts

The results of the effort will be channeled into phase 2,  a nationwide Town Meeting held in late 2009.

In Phase 3 the priorities from the Town Meeting will be presented to the United States Congress’ Autism Caucus in Washington where legislators and officials from key agencies will come together with the autism community to review recommended actions and build support for legislative change.


Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA)—a national consortium seeking to create meaningful futures for adults with autism that include homes, jobs, recreation, friends and supportive communities.