Our Philosophy:
We focus our efforts on meaningful participation and self-determination in all aspects of life for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. We promote individual, parental and guardian choice to assure that people on the autism spectrum are treated with dignity and respect. It is our belief that no single program or treatment will benefit individuals with autism. Furthermore, the recommendation of what is “best” or “most effective” for a person with autism should be determined by those people directly involved-the individual with autism, to the extent possible, and the parents or family members.

Our History:

Autism was virtually unknown to the general public until the 1960’s despite being identified as early at the 1940’s. A small group of parents and professionals were seeking a way to work for the welfare of all children with severe communication and behavioral disorders. In 1966, The National Society for Autistic Children (NSAC) was formed by Dr. Bernard Rimland, a San Diego psychologist and parent of an autistic child. The goal of this organization was to seek education, care, and cure for these children and work for adequate legislation, research and publicity for their unique problem. This organization created a national entity and local chapters to meet the needs of their communities on a grassroots level. The original local chapters included Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Clara and Orange County. In 1969, NSAC changed its name to the Autism Society of America to emphasize that children with autism grow up. Through the years, the Autism Society of America has grown to all 50 states. The mission and goals have not changed from the original, founding vision.

Our chapter was founded in 2004.

The chapter is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization which continues to be an all-volunteer, grassroots, organization. We serve as the voice and resource of Santa Barbara. ASASB members include individuals with ASD, parents, relatives, friends, advocates, educators and other professionals throughout Santa Barbara County. We are proud to serve all who are affected by autism spectrum disorders.

Autism Society’s Options Policy:

The Autism Society promotes the active and informed involvement of family members and the individual with autism in the planning of individualized, appropriate services and supports. The Board of the Autism Society believes that each person with autism is a unique individual. Each family and individual with autism should have the right to learn about and then select, the options that they feel are most appropriate for the individual with autism. To the maximum extent possible, we believe that the decisions should be made by the individual with autism in collaboration with family, guardians and caregivers.

Services should enhance and strengthen natural family and community supports for the individual with autism and the family whenever possible. The service option designed for an individual with autism should result in improved quality of life. Abusive treatment of any kind is not an option.

We firmly believe that no single type of program or service will fill the needs of every individual with autism and that each person should have access to support services. Selection of a program, service or method of treatment should be on the basis of a full assessment of each person’s abilities, needs and interests. We believe that services should be outcome based to insure that
they meet the individualized needs of a person with autism.

With appropriate education, vocational training and community living options and support systems, individuals with autism can lead dignified, productive lives in their communities and
strive to reach their fullest potential.

The Autism Society believes that all individuals with autism have the right to access appropriate services and supports based on their needs and desires.