Partner with autistic people.

Autistic people work in every job you can think of.
We are scientists and researchers.
We are writers, artists, and dancers.
Wherever you go, there are autistic people.
No matter what job you do, autistic people do that job, too.

Remember the motto “Nothing about us, without us!”
You might work on projects about autism.
An ally makes sure they work with autistic people on these projects.
Autistic people should always be a part of projects about autism.
It does not matter what kind of project it is.
Autistic people will always have important ideas to add.

It’s not enough to just have us there when you do your project.
You need to listen to us.
You need to make sure we understand what you are doing.
You need to give us time to share our thoughts.
You need to take our thoughts seriously.
You need to change parts of your project that might hurt us.

An ally works with autistic people at every step of the project.
An ally asks autistic people to help plan the project.
An ally gives us chances to share ideas while the project happens.
Don’t wait until your project is finished to ask us what we think.
It will be too late to change anything if you wait until the end.
So you wouldn’t really be listening to us.

Here is an example of a good project:

Camila is writing a book. Her book has an autistic person in it.
Camila talks to autistic people about her book.
She lets autistic people read the book before anyone else.
Autistic people tell her that parts of the book make autism seem like a bad thing.
Camila changes those parts of the book.
She pays the autistic people for helping her.

Here is an example of a bad project:

Mario is autistic. He is a well-known self-advocate in his town.
Isaac is non-autistic. He is planning an autism conference.
He gets a group of people to help him plan the conference.
All of the people are non-autistic, except for Mario.
Mario tries to make sure the conference is good for autistic people.
But Isaac doesn’t listen to Mario.

The conference ends up being bad for autistic people.
Isaac thinks the conference was fine.
Some autistic people try to tell Isaac that it was bad.
Isaac says, “Mario helped plan the conference. It isn’t my fault you didn’t like it!”