This fund is for autistic people of color, not for parents, caregivers, or family members.
Effective September 1st, 2020, parents, caregivers, and family members will no longer be allowed to apply for funding.
Since the Fund launched in June 2018, we have had one mission: to support autistic people of color who face the severe financial impact of combined racism and ableism.
This Fund was created by autistic people of color for autistic people of color – NOT for parents, caregivers, or family members of autistic people of color.
During the first year and a half of our existence, the vast majority of our applications came from autistic people of color applying for themselves – occasionally with assistance from a trusted relative or friend to fill out the form. A few applications came from parents of autistic people of color. We were willing to provide some support to these applicants if we believed that the purpose of the microgrant would directly benefit the autistic person of color.
Since January 2020, we have been overwhelmed with applications by parents and other caregivers of autistic people of color to the point where up to 85% of applications in a given cycle are by parents or caregivers, rather than by autistic people of color themselves.
We have never been and are not now a fund to support parents and family members of autistic people of color. This is NOT a parent support fund or a family support fund.
We were founded and created by an autistic person of color, and our leadership remains as autistic people of color. Our director (Lydia) is a Chinese American/East Asian autistic person, our grants selection chair (Morénike) is a multiethnic Black African autistic person, and our disbursements manager through our fiscal sponsor (Sharon) is a mixed-race Native autistic person. All of us are autistic ourselves. Two of us are also parents of autistic children in addition to being autistic ourselves.
We exist to support autistic people of color directly. We do not exist to support families of autistic people, even though supporting a specific autistic person of color sometimes indirectly benefits their family members.
Unfortunately, despite our previous lenience in permitting some parents to apply for household help or individual help for their autistic children of color, we have learned that many of the parents who are seeking assistance from the fund wish to start or continue ABA for their children. Some of these parents have also exchanged comments with another suggesting that they should present misinformation on their applications in order to receive funding that can then go toward ABA.
Our community knows that ABA is abusive and harmful. Although it claims to be “evidence-based,” what the evidence shows is that ABA works – in training children to be compliant, and thus vulnerable to future abuse of all kinds, especially from family members and people in the helping/service/clinical professions. Autistic people of color and white autistic people alike have all documented the harms of ABA, including its cause and effect relationship with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in autistic adults who went through ABA as a child.
Effective as of 1 September 2020, we will no longer consider any applications made by parents or caregivers, and we are changing our application form accordingly.
We do not believe in instituting onerous gatekeeping and surveillance/monitoring procedures as so often employed by white-controlled charities and social services agencies. Such measures would be necessary in order to fully assess all parent-written applications from now on. The only just way to ensure that funds go directly to autistic people of color’s own, individual needs as defined by themselves, is to institute a complete ban on parents, caregivers, or other family members of autistic people applying for money on the basis of having an autistic family member.
We have provided the following Q&A to help our community members and the public better understand the new policy:
Question: What if I am an autistic person of color myself, and I also am a parent of autistic children of color at the same time? Can I still apply?
Answer: If you are autistic yourself AND you also are a parent, you are welcome to apply for yourself. Your autistic child/ren must apply separately. We do not allow non-autistic people who are parents of autistic children to apply.
Question: If I’m an autistic person of color myself, and my child is also an autistic person of color at the same time, what would be the difference between things we’re each allowed to apply for?
Answer: In this scenario, you could apply for things like help with rent, or childcare while you are at work or in school. Your child could apply for things like toys, specific snacks they like, or classes they’re interested in for themself.
Question: I’m an autistic person of color, and I need help to apply. Forms are confusing and overwhelming. Can I still get help to apply? What about help from a parent or caregiver?
Answer: Yes, you can ask for help from someone you trust. They are not allowed to fill out the application without your input, however. They are only allowed to put in the information that you tell them to put in, including what you are asking for.
Question: I’m an autistic person of color and I’m underage. If I’m approved for a microgrant, and I can’t receive money myself, can I have money sent to a parent or other trusted adult?
Answer: Yes. You still need to provide the information for your own application, though, and your parent cannot apply on their own behalf or for help for themself. The money must go to help you.
Question: If you are open to applications from autistic people of all ages, how can my child apply if I can’t help them with their application? My child is very young, nonverbal, and/or has a severe communication disability.
Answer: If you are a parent of an autistic child, your child can apply for themself. Your child is allowed to ask for help to fill out the application. But the application must be about what your child wants and is interested in on their own – not what you as a parent want for your child. Even very small children with communication difficulties have wishes, preferences, beliefs, desires, likes, and dislikes. If your child is too young to let you know what they want, or you do not yet understand their way of communicating, you may not apply for the fund in place of your child.
Question: I heard that you will deny people who have applied for help with ABA. My doctor, teacher, or someone else recommended ABA to us because it is an evidence-based treatment for autism, and I am trying to help my child succeed. Why won’t you help us obtain ABA?
Answer: Hundreds of people who are actually autistic who have gone through ABA as a child have described it as extremely abusive and harmful. This includes many autistic people of color, as well as white autistic people. Because we are a fund led by people who are ourselves actually autistic, we cannot and will never condone the use of ABA. Listen to autistic people. Believe autistic people. Support your child and love your child by exploring ways of helping your child that do not involve ABA.
Question: My child is autistic and is a person of color. We need help. Can I apply?
Answer: No. You cannot apply for funding simply because you have an autistic child of color. Your child can apply for themself, however.
Question: I’m a nonautistic parent/caregiver of an autistic child of color and was approved for funding before. Am I eligible to apply again?
Answer: No. Our policies have changed effective September 1st, 2020. Nonautistic parents/caregivers/family members of autistic children of color are no longer eligible to apply.
Question: I’m not autistic, but I am a person of color and I have other disabilities. Can I still apply?
Answer: No. Unfortunately, while all disabled people of color are targeted by racism and ableism, this fund is specifically and only for autistic people of color.
Question: I’m autistic and white/Caucasian. Shouldn’t this fund be open to all races and colors? White is also a color.
Answer: No. This fund is specifically for negatively racialized or racially marginalized people. It is not for white people. White autistic people have every other resource available, and a significantly higher likelihood of having the right resources and information to access those resources. Autistic people of color do not.
Question: I’m a parent of an autistic child, and I think I might be autistic. Could I still apply for help?
Answer: If you know that you are autistic for sure, you can apply for yourself. Otherwise, your child needs to apply on their own or with assistance from you.
Question: My child is nonverbal/has a severe communication disability/is extremely young. My child can’t apply on their own. Why can’t I apply for them?
Answer: We have no way of knowing whether an application from a parent reflects a child’s actual wishes or what the parent wishes instead. We do not allow applications made on behalf of children. If you haven’t figured out yet how to understand what your child wants for themself, then you cannot apply.
Question: Where are parents supposed to go for help, then?
Answer: Here are some other resources that ARE meant for parents, caregivers, and family members:
- Many local chapters of the Arc and affiliates of the Autism Society offer family support funding.
- In the United States, each state and territory’s Developmental Disabilities Council will often offer a small amount of funding for family support.
- You can check with your state or region’s Parent Training & Information Center, and your local University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.
- If your child needs certain medication that is expensive, you can consider contacting the manufacturer or patient advocacy group for information on a prescription or copayment assistance program.
- If your child needs health care that is too expensive, you can search the directory of U.S. Federally Qualified Health Centers providing sliding scale services.
- If your child needs therapy, and you have some financial means available, you can consider contacting the Open Path Collective – for a one-time lifetime fee of $59, you can receive sessions for between $30-$60/hour forever afterward with any therapist in their network.
- If you need legal help for issues related to your child’s disability, you can contact a local law school clinic, legal aid society (U.S. legal aid list / Canadian legal aid list), or a state protection and advocacy agency, for free legal help.
- If you need help for childcare while at work, your local American Job Center might be able to help.
- If you’re a refugee or asylum seeker in the U.S., you might be eligible for temporary cash assistance for up to eight months.
You cannot get help from us because we only provide support directly to autistic people of color, and not to their parents or family members.
Question: What the fuck? We’re parents and we need help. What the fuck is wrong with you? Where’s the complaint form?
Answer: You’re welcome to send us angry messages. We reserve the right to publish any and all such messages to our website and social media, with your name and information, since the content becomes our property once received.