Position Statements

Vaccine Position Statement

The Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) endorses the findings of the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, among other reputable healthcare and scientific research bodies, which have repeatedly investigated and disproved any causation of Autism Spectrum Disorder as a result of medically recommended childhood vaccines, including the MMR (Measles Mumps Rubella) vaccine. NOTE: AuSM is not a medical provider and does not offer medical advice, but recommends that people follow healthcare guidance from qualified medical professionals.

Treatment Options Policy

Background: Just decades ago, many people with autism were placed in institutions. Professionals were less educated about autism than they are today, and specific services and supports were largely non-existent. The picture is much clearer now. With appropriate services and supports, training and information, children on the autism spectrum will grow, learn and flourish, even if at a different developmental rate than others.

While there is no known cure for autism, there are treatment and education approaches that can address some of the challenges associated with the condition. Intervention can help to lessen disruptive behaviors, and education can teach self-help skills for greater independence. But just as there is no one symptom or behavior that identifies people with autism, there is no single treatment that will be effective for everyone on the spectrum. Individuals can use the positive aspects of their condition to their benefit, but treatment must begin as early as possible and focus on the individual’s unique strengths, weaknesses and needs.

Throughout the history of the Autism Society of America, parents and professionals have been confounded by conflicting messages regarding which treatment options are appropriate for children and adults on the autism spectrum. As each person responds to treatment differently, we cannot endorse any one treatment or program. Families should educate themselves about all options and choose what they feel is in the best interest of their child and family, based on their experience and what resources are available.

The Autism Society of America (ASA) and the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) promote the active and informed involvement of family members and the individual with autism in the planning of individualized, appropriate services and supports. We believe 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 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 services should be outcome-based to ensure they meet the individualized needs of a person with autism.

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

ASA and AuSM believe that all individuals with autism have the right to access appropriate services and supports based on their needs and desires.

Adopted by the ASA Board of Directors, 4/1/1995
 Revised by the ASA Board of Directors 12/12/2009

Positive Behavior Supports

The Autism Society of Minnesota endorses the use of positive behavior supports as the only effective methods of managing challenging behavior for families, schools and care facilities. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) contains several provisions requiring the use of functional behavioral assessments and positive behavior supports. Settings licensed by The Minnesota Department of Human Services are currently governed by comprehensive rules limiting the use of aversive methods. The Autism Society of Minnesota has adopted a position statement opposed to the use of aversive techniques to address challenging behavior. These techniques include, but are not limited to the use of restraints and locked time out. This position reflects the fact that research does not support the use of time out or the use of aversive techniques like restraints as a means to change behavior. In addition, these methods violate the human rights and dignity of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. They should be eliminated from schools and care facilities.

Educational programs for parents, care workers and teachers should promote the use of positive behavior supports and functional communication training. The Minnesota Department of Education should take leadership in promoting positive school-wide interventions and supports for all students and schools. This approach would teach all students to understand how to behave in school and help schools to reinforce desired behaviors. It is based on the science of human behavior, pays attention to lifestyle results, works from a systems perspective and uses research-validated