Autism Advocacy Network

Autism self-advocates have not had access to readily available tools developed with the help of data science and machine learning. By contrast, large corporations have used these tools, along with large budgets, for their awareness and advocacy agendas. Autism Advocacy Network exists to help empower autistic self-advocacy with technology developed by autistic self-advocates. Autism Advocacy Network is an assistive technology platform that provides social reciprocity technology.

Founded By An Autistic

My name is Nathan Young, and I founded the Autism Advocacy Network platform after spending approximately six years studying computer programming and achieving my IBM Data Science Professional Certification with the help of social services support staff. I grew up in a military family and I firmly understand and respect the freedoms guaranteed in the constitution. I believe that diverse ideas should be welcomed and celebrated in autism advocacy. To me, autism self-advocacy is about respecting and empowering the individual to think openly and creatively instead of empowering one set of ideas or beliefs.

It is my intention to work diligently to empower autism advocacy and improve the reach and acceptance of autism self-advocacy with a platform that allows autistic individuals to speak their minds. Autism Advocacy Network is an autistic advocacy platform that provides diagnosed individuals with tools that can help them be heard and included. The AAN does not dictate what opinions an individual should have. This includes enhancing social reciprocity in the autistic community, providing science-based social research, and developing and delivering science-based assistive technology that helps individuals to be heard.

Only Diagnosed Members

Not everyone with autism is diagnosed with autism. Economic barriers can get in the way of receiving a proper diagnosis of autism. With that said, the Autism Advocacy Network requires a credentialed diagnosis of autism for members. This requirement is meant to help protect the community of autistic self-advocates from outside influences.

As with many other online movements, trolls and other political interests can have agendas that affect the outcome of legitimate pursuits. To protect against this and to enhance the trust and credibility of the autistic rights movement, Autism Advocacy Network confirms the diagnosis status of each new member. The membership process is simple and free.

A potential Autism Advocacy Network member must submit paperwork that contains a unique ID to a credentialed specialist who is licensed to diagnose autism. That individual must also be the owner or employee of a HIPAA privacy-covered entity. The professional then must submit the paperwork and the Autism Advocacy Network will then reach out to the professional to ensure the authenticity of the diagnosis.

Assistive Technology

The Autism Advocacy Network (AAN) is an assistive technology platform powered by machine learning, computational linguistics, and data science. As an assistive technology, AAN’s principal aim is to empower autistic self-advocates to effectively communicate with and be heard by news organizations, entertainment companies, government agencies, and political entities. Individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of autism are given access to tools that are typically available to only the corporate and public relations sectors. This helps individuals to get their thoughts heard and empowers them to advocate for their and other people’s concerns.

Since AAN is an assistive technology platform, it has no central advocacy directive. There is no agenda or leader to follow. The goal is to empower autism self-advocacy by developing tools to assist with communicating the ideas of autistic individuals and assist them with gaining a better understanding of the social world around us all. Members of AAN can speak as individuals with their own ideas and can freely collaborate. In doing so, individuals on the autism spectrum can speak for themselves instead of being spoken for.

Data science allows us to use statistics to find patterns in modern data found online. Machine learning then allows us to classify patterns and determine how they may be evolving so that we can make changes to those classifications. When combined, these modalities allow us to ask questions like, “What makes a radio station or news website unique from other websites and how might we contact them if we want to?” This gives us the ability to talk to news organizations throughout a country or even the world without having to spend our precious time finding them ourselves.

These tools can also be used to determine how opinions are changing concerning an autism advocacy matter and identify concepts that could be related to the topic. AAN is not meant as a forum for scientifically understanding every small matter; however, data science and machine learning can be utilized for this purpose by more refined fields like computational linguistics. The goal is to provide autistic self-advocates with assistive technology tools to reciprocate socially and speak for themselves, instead of being spoken for. To this end, computational linguistics is a very useful tool for social research.

AAN Membership


Members are provided a unique email address, with a name of their choosing, along with access to an online advocacy space. HIPAA privacy is an important part of the Autism Advocacy Network. A member never has to ever provide their real name to the Autism Advocacy Network.

To qualify to receive services through the Autism Advocacy Network, a potential participant has to submit paperwork to a credentialed specialist who has the ability to diagnose autism. The AAN then reaches out to collect the ID number provided to the applicant without exchanging personally identifiable information.

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