On December 1st, 2008, our Association launched the
Nationwide Campaign
"GIVE LIGHT"




AND HELP AUTISTICS SHED THE DARKNESS
OF IGNORANCE AND STIGMA

The main purpose of this Nationwide (Panhellenic) Campaign is to promote awareness and Autism
Rights in Greece, where the lack of proper legislation concerning Autistics, both children and adults,
results in inadequate measures towards our integration in society as equal members. This affects our
education as children, our participation in decisions being made concerning Autism in general, and
our future as employable adults and citizens in particular.

Furthermore, the image that prevails of Autism is the "classic" autistic child that is unable to speak
and has no contact with its environment, while according to international research, more than the half
of all Autistics today fit the scientific description of Asperger's and High Functioning Autism (HFA).

We, the Greek Autistic, Asperger and HFA adults, feel we must take matters into our hands
and promote a more accurate and realistic image of what Autism is, and how it affects our daily lives.

Because, unlike the way Autism is presented by the scientific community, Autism is not an illness,
or a condition that can be treated and cured! Autism is a way of life, a way of being, a way of
understanding the world around us. Without Autism, we would not be who we are, but someone else.

Therefore, our Campaign aims to change the way Autism is viewed and understood in Greece.
ASSOCIATION OF GREEK AUTISTIC ASPERGER and HFA ADULTS
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Some information about our Association, work so far, and
future projects.

Our Association, unlike all other Associations in Greece that deal with Autism, is representing both the Greek
Autistic (classic Autism) and Asperger/HFA adults and the parents of Autistic and Asperger children in an equal
way. We believe that to be able to understand Autism in its totality, both children and adults must receive equal
respect and attention for their specific needs, instead of focusing just on the needs of children. Autism is a life long
condition, it is a way of life, that can not be cured or changed. Even though Autism does not change, autistics do
change, mature, learn, adjust and adapt to their environment if given the right opportunities and space to grow.

Our Association was born out of a need and we have now more than 200 members from all parts of Greece and
Cyprus. About a year ago an Autistic adult, after receiving her Asperger's Syndrome diagnosis began searching the
internet for other Greek Autistic adults and realized that there was no organization, or group that represented adult
Autistics in Greece.

"If there is none, I will create one," was the reaction that set in motion a series of events that resulted in what you
see here today. In the last year, our Association has brought forth in Greek reality something that was rendered
unthinkable; an Autistic that spoke out about Autism from an inside out point of view.
Autistics such as Dr. Temple Grandin were well known, but no one in Greece imagined that a Greek Autistic adult
would dare stand in front of an audience and lecture using PowerPoint presentations, about how she experienced
Autism and how misunderstood Autism was.

Many parents of Autistic children responded in a positive way, and the first meetings for parents and Autistic
children took place with great success. Now our Association holds such meetings on a regular basis, and has added
also meetings for Autistic teenagers and young adults.

Besides the meetings, our Associations promotes a better understanding of Autism through presentations and
lectures in different cities throughout Greece, for groups of parents, professionals in a variety of fields, and the
general public. Our Association has also expanded its activities through the worldwide web.

About six months ago, we created an Autism forum that has become the core of an Autistic Community with more
than 600 members, where all interested in Autism can come to interact with each other, seek information and
advise, and exchange ideas. This is especially important for parents of Autistic children who, due to the non-
existent legislation, often struggle feeling lost and abandoned after they receive their child's diagnosis of Autism.
To view this forum, please visit this link.

Recently, we have added "facebook" to our activism, by creating there a specific page for our Campaign and cause.
To view the facebook page please visit this link.


The future

With our Campaign we aim to attract the attention of the media and thus promote our cause to a much wider
audience. Especially since this is a social and human rights issue that concerns every citizen in Greece. According
to international research there is 1 Autistic in 166 persons. If this is applied to the population in Greece, there  
should be somewhere between 50 to 60.000 Autistics in Greece. Right now, not even one third of these persons is
diagnosed or known.

For this reason, we plan to create Autism Centers in different cities throughout Greece, where parents can seek
advise concerning their children, where (self-diagnosed) adults can seek information towards getting a proper
diagnosis, and where persons working with Autistics can seek advise and guidance when they face situations that
their textbook knowledge does not help solve.

This plan will commence with a series of seminars, that will help us interact  and create connections with a variety
of professionals who are interested in specializing in Autism and willing to co-operate with us, the Autistics.
Through such co-operation the professionals can gain a far better and broader understanding of how to put theory
into practice by combining their scientific knowledge with our life-long expertise with Autism.

Our first seminar took place on May 22-24, 2009, with
Dr. Tony Attwood as our speaker. We could not think of a
better professional to lead the way as Dr. Attwood has a 30 year clinical experience as a psychologist, with Autism
and Asperger's Syndrome in particular. His clinic
Hearts & Minds is located in Brisbane, Australia, and offers a
variety of services to parents, children and adults. His expertise with Autism, will act as an example to help us
model our Autism Centers here in Greece.

Dr. Attwood's latest book "The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome," a worldwide best seller, was presented
and sold for the first time in Greek, during this seminar. In the near future we will also be able to present this three
day seminar on DVD with Greek subtitles. The sale of this DVD will help our association gather much needed funds
while providing parents, and professionals in Greece with a tool that can be used both now and in the future, to
better understand Autism and Asperger's Syndrome.  

Other future projects include the translation in Greek and publication of books on Autism as well as books written
by autistics, the creation of a library dedicated on the subject of Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD, Learning Disabilities and
other associated topics, and seminars with guest speakers from around the world.


Here are a few way to help our Campaign and Cause

- Learn as much as you can about Autism and Autistics
- Become a "peer" member (ομότιμο μέλος) of our Association
- Donate money towards our activities
- Become a Benefactor of our Association and receive a lifelong membership and a plaque


Please, help spread the word about our Campaign and Cause, by telling
people about our Association, by promoting our website through e-mails,
in forums, and blogs, and by asking your local newsparers to publish an
article about our Campaign and Association.

Because this concerns the future of thousands of Autistic children and
adults in Greece.

Thank you!!!
Please watch also this video: Something about us Autistics
(length 20 min)
This promotional video clip for our Campaign was designed and created by an autistic adult.
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