How do individuals participate in the YLD?
The Young Leaders Division is a program of the Autistic Global Initiative that focuses on young adult life on the spectrum. Because we are not a peer support group or club, individuals do not sign up to become members. Instead, each young leader is selected and invited to participate in the YLD program because of his/her outstanding ability to contribute to and effect change within the autism community. Sondra Williams, director of the YLD program, scouts for individuals who are highly motivated and actively involved in disability advocacy or who are contributing to society at a high level in some fashion. AGI Executive Committee members may also nominate individuals to participate in the YLD program. The Executive Committee reviews all nominations and approves new participants. YLD members are 16 to 30 years of age and must have an official diagnosis of ASD.
Are there non-speaking YLD participants?
Yes. We encourage all voices and forms of communication at the YLD.
Is the YLD only for the very high functioning persons with autism?
No. We are inclusive of all expressions of the autism spectrum.
What does the YLD do?
The YLD collaborates on target initiatives within the disability community developed by AGI and the YLD. Our participants contribute articles and blogs to both the AGI YLD blog and ARI Adults with Autism eBulletin, as well as to other national publications.
Who funds the YLD division?
The YLD is a subprogram of the Autistic Global Initiative, which a program of the Autism Research Institute. Our funding comes from donors who support ARI.
What happens to those who age out of the YLD?
We endeavor to support young adults with autism to develop advocacy abilities to serve others in the disability community. As participants age out of our program, some might wish to continue forward as partners in the Autistic Global Initiatives projects and programs. The ultimate goal is to develop autistic leaders who can bring forward their generation and those who follow.