Julia Bascom, Executive Director
Julia Bascom serves as Executive Director at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. In this role, Julia focuses on building the political power of the self-advocacy movement. In particular, Julia works to deepen ASAN’s connections to other movements for social justice, and leads advocacy efforts to expand home and community-based services, access to health care, and self-determination for people with developmental disabilities.
Previously, Julia worked in her home state of New Hampshire, where she served on the Developmental Disabilities Council and co-led an inter-agency team to revitalize self-advocacy within the state. Julia edited an anthology of writings by autistic people titled Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking. Since then, Julia has coauthored a variety of publications on topics such as autism research priorities, gender disparities in autism, long-term services and supports, and ethics in service provision. She is a co-lead on an NIH research project to develop an assessment of autistic traits created by the autistic community. She has served on the boards of numerous disability rights organizations over the years, and currently sits on the boards of the Institute for Exceptional Care and Allies For Independence.
Zoe Gross, Director of Advocacy
Zoe Gross is Director of Advocacy at Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Previously, she worked as a special assistant at the Administration for Community Living, and as a policy analyst on Senator Tom Harkin’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee staff. In 2012, Zoe created the annual Disability Day of Mourning vigil, a national, cross-disability event which commemorates the lives of disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers. She received a White House Champions of Change award for this work in 2013.
Larkin Taylor-Parker, Legal Director
R. Larkin Taylor-Parker is the Legal Director of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and an openly autistic attorney licensed in North Carolina. Larkin earned a B.A. in history at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia in 2014. They focused on the history of mental health and developmental disability and institutionalization during their undergraduate degree and engaged in extracurricular speaking, writing, and organizing on autism and neurodiversity issues. They then attended the University of Georgia School of Law, becoming an Autistic Scholars Fellow in 2016 and graduating with a J.D. in 2017. Before joining ASAN, Larkin worked at the North Carolina Protection and Advocacy System. Larkin’s professional interests include promoting the autonomy of disabled people, alternatives to guardianship, equal access to society under the ADA, health equity for all people with disabilities, and ensuring that efforts to enhance disability rights and disability justice serve multiply-marginalized people. Larkin works remotely from their home in Smithfield, North Carolina and enjoys sewing, DIY projects, and playing the tuba.
Avery Outlaw, Deputy Director of Operations
Avery Outlaw is ASAN’s Deputy Director of Operations. While studying Disability Studies and Advocacy, Avery was president and founder of the neurodiversity student group and advocacy chair for the disability student group, in addition to planning and coordinating a program for incoming neurodivergent students at the College of William & Mary.
Greg Robinson, Deputy Director of Public Policy
Greg Robinson is the Deputy Director of Public Policy at ASAN’s national office. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. Prior to ASAN, he worked in community program development around housing and community health for underserved communities in Philadelphia as an Americorps VISTA, and in inclusive career development and employment supports for undergraduate students as a graduate assistant at Drexel University. His passion in policy centers around the intersections of social determinants of health in marginalized communities.
Kelly Israel, Policy Analyst
Kelly Israel is a Policy Analyst at ASAN’s national office. She, under ASAN’s Legal Director, works to advance the legal, legislative and administrative policy objectives of ASAN. She is a graduate of American University, Washington College of Law and served as student attorney in its Disability Rights Law Clinic. In that capacity she was legal counsel for clients with disabilities in a wide variety of cases, including special education and ADA reasonable accommodations issues. She has also worked for other public interest organizations on the death penalty and on guardianship in the United States. Her chief interests are the education of children with disabilities, supported decision-making as a viable alternative to guardianship, and the over-criminalization of people with developmental disabilities.
AJ Link, Policy Analyst
AJ Link (he/him) is openly autistic. He received his JD from The George Washington University Law School and his LL.M in Space Law at the University of Mississippi School of Law. He is the inaugural director of The Center for Air and Space Law Task Force on Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity in Aerospace and an adjunct professor of space law at Howard University School of Law. AJ is the Communications Director for Mission: AstroAccess and works as a research director for the Jus Ad Astra project. He serves as the Space Law and Policy Chair for Black in Astro and was the founding president of the National Disabled Law Students Association. AJ is a policy analyst for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. He has been actively involved with disability advocacy in the Washington, DC area and nationally within the United States. He serves on several advisory boards and steering committees that focus on disability advocacy and broader social justice movements.
Ianthe Belisle Dempsey, Media Manager
Ianthe (ee-awn-tay) is an Autistic self-advocate living in Chicago. Xe has been an outspoken anti-oppression activist for the past decade and has a degree in theatre/film studies and Russian history from Illinois State University. Their work centers on using technology, design, and language to increase visual and cognitive accessibility of both print and digital resources. Ianthe has had pink hair for the past 9 years and has had extremely strong opinions on fonts and typography for even longer. She has no intention of changing either of those anytime soon.
Noor Pervez, Community Engagement Manager
Noor Pervez is the Community Engagement Coordinator at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. He previously led his campus LGBT+ advocacy group, Rainbow Guard, and gave a number of talks regarding intersectionality. His previous work centered on exploring the intersections of disability, LGBT+ and religious issues. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in Emerging Media and Communications.
Meredith Bartley, Communications Coordinator
Meredith Bartley is a Communications Associate with an interest in accessibility, the social model of disability, and storytelling. She has a BA in Film & Media Arts from American University and a Master’s in Disability Studies from the University of Leeds thanks to the Fulbright Scholar program. She’s also a huge fan of women’s soccer!
Jean Winegardner, Office Manager
Jean Winegardner is the Office Manager at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s DC office. She is an Autistic mom to three delightfully neurodivergent children, who brought her into the world of disability advocacy as she learned about what they need and want out of life. She is passionate about furthering acceptance and embrace of disabled children and adults. Jean has a master’s degree in print journalism from the University of Southern California. She and her husband live in Maryland. She enjoys movies, reading, running, and small, amusing rodents.
Dean Strauss, Communications Associate
Dean is the Communications Associate at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. His background is in media and design with a focus on civic media, queer and disability representation, and digital media. He has a degree in Civic Media from Columbia College Chicago. He spends his free time with his dog, Stitch.
Donnie Denome, Publications Associate
Donnie TC Denome is ASAN’s Publications Associate. They hold a Master’s of Public Health degree from Claremont Graduate University. Previously, Donnie worked as a journalist, a peer health educator, a freelance technical writer, and a museum docent. Their area of interest and expertise within public health is health education and harm reduction for adults with intellectual, communication, and developmental disabilities. They have a passion for Easy Read and Plain Language writing, equitable access to health care, and brightly patterned clothing.
Alex Grandstaff, Programs Coordinator
Alex Grandstaff is ASAN’s Programs Coordinator. A writer turned MSW, they have lived and worked in Texas and Missouri. They have over a decade of experience in LGBTQ+ advocacy that pushes for the inclusion of queer and trans disabled people. They’re particularly passionate about work that addresses the way broader systems of oppression follow us home to contribute to interpersonal violence and ways we can break these toxic patterns to build supportive, healthy relationships with one another. A serial hobbyist, they’ve taught themselves book binding, candlemaking, and to sew their own clothes and learned soldering and leatherwork from their mother who is a jewelry artist.
Katherine Crater, Media Associate
Katherine is an art student who lives in Washington, D.C. Currently, she is attending Savannah College of Art and Design. She is majoring in graphic design, and will be graduating with a B.F.A degree in the fall of 2022. She also loves animals and Marvel.
Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán
Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, ASAN’s Board Chairperson, is the Senior Policy Manager for AIDS United, where she brings her own unique intersectional specialties to the fight against the HIV epidemic. Particular areas of expertise and focus are the intersections of issues affecting people living at the intersections of transgender identity, disability and mental illness through a social justice lens. She frequently speaks on discrimination issues impacting the trans and disability communities. She has been profiled in multiple national media outlets and has been published in multiple academic journals. Prior to joining AIDS United, she was senior policy counsel at the National LGBTQ Task Force where she led the Trans/GNC Justice Project and the Disability Justice Project. She currently serves in the board of directors of the Autistic Women and Non-Binary Network, of HIPS, an organization dedicated to harm reduction for sex work and drug use in the District of Columbia, of Equality New York, the Empire State’s leading LGBTQ equality organization. Victoria holds a B.A. in psychology with honors from the University of Puerto Rico, and a J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law. She lives in the Washington, DC area.
Hari Srinivasan, ASAN’s Board Vice Chair, is a minimally-speaking autistic who types communicate. He learned to type and thus communicate only at age 13. The ability to communicate opened up access to mainstream education allowing him to transition from the special education straight into the mainstream academics world of Algebra, Biology and Shakespeare which he thoroughly relished and graduated as valedictorian from his high school. Srinivasan loves to write and has won many writing awards for his essays and creative writing like poetry, including a National Gold Medal Medal from Scholastic which he received at Carnegie Hall and was subsequently published by Scholastic.
Srinivasan is currently pursuing psychology at UC Berkeley with a minor in Disability Studies. He is a member of the Psi Chi Honor Society. Srinivasan hopes to pursue research such that it will benefit and improve the quality of life of individuals with disabilities like him. He has been honing his research skills as a research assistant at the Hinshaw lab and currently at the Golden Bear Mood and Sleep Research Clinic as well as the Nakamura Disability Lab. Ultimately he would like to work with non-profits, national/international organizations or think tanks while pursuing his love of writing.
At UC Berkeley, Srinivasan is a senior staff writer at the Daily Californian which is the newspaper on record for both the city of Berkeley and for the university. His work has included a weekly column on Autism and covers both disability and non-disability issues. Srinivasan has also been the lead student instructor for a faculty-sponsored semester-long 1-unit course on autism since spring 2019. He is constantly looking to drive the curriculum to expand the way 25 neurotypical students each semester will come to regard autism and all the issues around it. Srinivasan is a board member for the student organization, Spectrum At Cal, which works towards community volunteering and campus autism awareness program. Srinivasan is also actively involved with other disability organizations on campus.
Srinivasan is a 2019 alum of ASAN’s Campus Inclusion program where he learned about autistic identity and disability justice. He highly encourages other college-going autistics to apply for the program.
Sarah Pripas-Kapit, ASAN’s Board Treasurer, is an author of books for young readers. Her first two books, Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! and The Many Mysteries of the Finkel Family, were published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Sarah’s work prominently features autistic girls and other characters with disabilities. Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen! was named a 2020 Schneider Family Honor title for representation of people with disabilities and received multiple starred reviews in trade publications. Chicago Public Library named it one of the best middle-grade books of 2020.
Since 2016, Sarah has served as Chairperson of the Association for Autistic Community, a nonprofit organization that organizes in-person retreats for autistic people. Sarah has been involved with the autistic community in some capacity since 2006. In her fiction, Sarah wants to bring the principles of the neurodiversity and disability rights movements to young readers. In her capacity as an author, Sarah mentors aspiring authors. She is particularly interested in helping disabled writers and others from marginalized communities to break into the industry.
Sarah holds a PhD in History from the University of California Los Angeles, where she also received a Graduate Certificate in Gender Studies. She has written about the intellectual history of the neurodiversity movement.
Meg Evans, ASAN’s Board Secretary, is employed in the legal publishing industry with LexisNexis and lives in the Dayton, Ohio area. She received her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and her B.A. from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Meg is married and has two grown children. She enjoys sculling and competes in regattas; her favorite event is rowing the mixed double with her husband. She currently serves as the webmaster for the Greater Dayton Rowing Association.She belongs to a multigenerational Autistic family and envisions a world in which respect for human rights and diversity can flourish. Among her interests, she has long found it fascinating to explore how our cultural narratives change over time and shape the development of social structures and expectations. Meg has written many articles for ASAN’s websites and publications. Her stories and musings on modern life can be found on her personal blog at http://megevans.com and include Nurturing Thursday posts, with a focus on self-nurturing and positive energy.
Ari Ne’eman is the co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and served as its President from 2006 to 2016. He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of MySupport.com, an online platform designed to empower seniors and people with disabilities to self-direct their own services. In 2009, President Obama nominated Ari to the National Council on Disability, a federal agency charged with advising Congress and the President on disability policy issues. He was confirmed by the Senate in July 2010 and served until 2015, during which time he chaired the Council’s Committee on Entitlements Policy. From 2010 to 2012, he served as a public member to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a Federal advisory committee that coordinates all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services concerning autism. Ari also served as an adviser to the DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workgroup convened by the American Psychiatric Association. He previously served as a member of the National Quality Forum’s Workgroup on Measuring Home and Community Based Services Quality and the Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment of People with Disabilities.
He previously served as Vice Chair of the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force, where he represented autistic adults in reviewing the state’s autism services. He also previously served on the New Jersey Special Education Review Commission, where he authored a minority report on the topic of aversives, restraint and seclusion. He is also a board member of the American Association of People with Disabilities and the World Institute on Disability. In addition, he was named by the New York Jewish Week as one of their “36 by 36″ in 2010. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where he studied political science in the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program.
Autistic self-advocacy became organized in the 1990s as a part of the disability rights movement. The Autistic Self Advocacy Network was founded in 2006 in response to the lack of representation of autistic voices in the national dialogue on autism, and became widely known in December 2007 after a successful letter-writing protest campaign led to the removal of the “Ransom Notes” billboards in New York City, which had compared autism to a kidnapper snatching children from society.
Our founders believed that in order for autistic people and all people with disabilities to enjoy equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency – the four goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act – we needed representation wherever issues that impacted on our lives were under discussion. ASAN was started by autistic adults who were unhappy with the prevailing public dialogue on autism, believing that the autism world would be better served by ending the misguided search for a “cure” and focusing on empowering and supporting autistic people and all people with disabilities to live the lives we wanted.
From 2006 to 2010, ASAN grew as an all-volunteer organization, developing an initial chapter network and a national profile by standing up to those who talked about autism without autistic people. In January 2011, we acquired 501c3 tax-exempt status and our first grants, leading to the hiring of our first staff members and the establishment of our main office in Washington, DC. Today, ASAN’s activities are diverse and broad ranging, including not only advocacy but also programming in leadership development, technical assistance, employment opportunities, publications, community based participatory research, public policy analysis and education and other efforts to help inform decision-makers and the public about the autism spectrum and the perspectives of those on it.
ASAN also plays a critical role in the broader disability rights movement. While we are an organization run by and for autistic people, we believe strongly in cross-disability advocacy and organizing. As a result, most of our policy work and a significant percentage of our organizing and technical assistance activities are focused more broadly on people with disabilities in general or on the community of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). We believe strongly in the values of cross-disability collaboration and have significant partnerships with other self-advocate controlled organizations as well as parent and provider organizations with whom we share common interests.
ASAN was incorporated as a New Jersey nonprofit organization in November 2006 and was an all-volunteer group for the next four years. In January 2011, our application for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status was approved, and we began receiving grants and hiring staff. Our national office is located in Washington DC.