TASH is an international leader in disability advocacy. Founded in 1975, TASH advocates for human rights and inclusion for people with significant disabilities and support needs – those most vulnerable to segregation, abuse, neglect and institutionalization. TASH works to advance inclusive communities through advocacy, research, professional development, policy, and information and resources for parents, families and self-advocates. The inclusive practices TASH validates through research have been shown to improve outcomes for all people.
TASH is governed by a board of directors and is supported by a network of members, volunteers, committees and chapter organizations. The TASH membership includes a diverse array of individuals and perspectives, including researchers, professionals, direct service workers, family members and people with disabilities. Together, we share a commitment to quality lives for the people for whom we advocate.
The official name of the organization has gone through several changes since its inception more than 35 years ago. It was first called the American Association for the Education of the Severely and Profoundly Handicapped. In 1980, the name was changed to The Association for the Severely Handicapped, reflecting the organization’s broader mission. Again in 1983, the name was changed to The Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, although the acronym TASH was widely used. In 1995, the Board of Directors voted to discontinue the full name of the organization as it did not reflect current values. The acronym, TASH, was maintained due to its wide recognition.
TASH is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.
TASH advances equity, opportunity and inclusion for people with disabilities, with a focus on those with the most significant support needs, in the areas of education, employment and community living through advocacy, research and practice.
TASH Guiding Principles
- The human and civil rights of people with disabilities are protected and enforced;
- People with disabilities including those with the most significant support needs are fully included in their communities in integrated settings;
- Practices for teaching, supporting and providing services to people with disabilities are evidence-based and support full participation in all aspects of life;
- All children and youth are fully included in their local schools and have pathways to higher education and competitive, integrated employment;
- People with disabilities live in the setting of their choice;
- People with disabilities are able to exercise self-determination including the ability to communicate using alternative methods;
- People with disabilities have access to quality, individualized services and supports;
- People with disabilities are empowered to advocate for themselves.