Declaration From the Autism Community That They Sre a Minority Group

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Members of the autism community have released a statement in hopes of being declared a minority group by the United Nations.

A statement has officially been released from members of the autism community that could mean a big difference to their futures.

If successful, and the United nations declare that the autism community is a minority group, it could help to end discrimination for those who have this neurological difference.

The statement reads thus-

This is a declaration from the worldwide autism community that from here on we wish to be recognised as a minority group.

We make this declaration to assert our existence, to be able to have a "voice" on autism, rather than only that of experts and professionals in the field, to show how discrimination affects our lives, and that we want to direct a change from this type of bias against our natural differences, and the poor treatment that can ensue thereof.

We recognise the autism community as those diagnosed with any condition on the autism spectrum, including autism, low-functioning and high-functioning, those with asperger's syndrome, fragile x, hyperlexia and PDD-NOS. We are aware that there are some people who have not yet recieved diagnosis, yet still recognise themselves as on the autism spectrum, and have the same elelments on the diagnostic criteria.

We recognise ourselves as a minority group based on the following factors-

People in the autism community have their own way of using language and communication that is different from the general population, is often misunderstood and can cause a bias against us.

Autism spectrum conditions are scientifically proven to be largely genetic and heritable. Many of those on the autism spectrum who have children bear children who are also on the spectrum, this needs to be recognised to avoid the frequency of criticism of autistic parents and discrimination that is suffered as to misunderstanding of the different needs, and communication between family members on the spectrum.

People on the autism spectrum have a unique social network, this is primarily using communication with text on the internet. It is an invaluable community for many of us. There should be increased availability and recognition for this autism community online so that isolated members of the autism community can join and participate.

People on the autism spectrum have our own cultural differences, unique habits, such as stimming and different perspectives than the norm. We feel it is essential that this is recognised as these "traits" are the things that some children and adults are forced to stop by some harsh and intensive therapies. We should have the right to be ourselves, without the pressure to conform and change our cultural differences.

We experience discrimination in various forms, often because of our different use of language and communication, habitual differences such as stimming, and lack of acknowledgemnt that autistic parents may have autistic children, and differences in the children are not due to poor parenting, but the innate differneces of our minority group.

The members of the autism community are facing an imminent threat of possible cure, in whatever fashion that may transpire, pre natal testing for autism that could mean a form of eugenics, and total prevention from genetic counselling before conception. We have grave concerns of the possibilty of being forced to accept a cure, of parents being forced to cure children, and of there being great pressure put on parents on the spectrum to have genetic tests, or pre natal screening. In the same sense that this would be entirely unacceptable to cure someones skin colour, we feel that our differences need to be respected and our minority group to be protected.

A specific case of how being afforded protection would help members of the community is the present treatment meted out to autistic children at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Boston in the USA. The children can be given electric shock "therapy", this is from a contraption that can be worn for many years. This inhumane treatment is sickening to members of our community, this is just one such example of many.

We mean for this statement to begin a process of official recognition by the United Nations that we are indeed a minority group, and worthy of protection from discrimination, inhumane treatment, and that our differences are valid in their own right and not something that needs to be cured.

Written by Amy Nelson 16th November 2004



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