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June 18th is Autistic Pride Day

June 18th is Autistic Pride Day

June 18th is Autistic Pride Day, a “celebration of the neurodiversity of people on the autism spectrum” to express pride in autism and understand it not as a “disease” but as a “difference.”

It might seem odd to celebrate autism. As a parent, and a parent writing at the end of a day on which my son had a very tough episode in our car, I can’t say enough that life raising an autistic child is not easy. Certainly, it’s not easy to be Charlie: My son has little language and sometimes goes to extreme measures to communicate his frustration at everything.

It is necessary to remember that, as an autistic person — an individual with a disability — my son has rights: He has the right to an education. He has civil rights: As a suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on behalf of a man with Asperger’s Syndrome underscores, you cannot discriminate against someone on the basis of her or his disability.

Maybe my son won’t ever go to a rally and proclaim his rights as an autistic person. But we need always to remember that he, and all individuals on the autism spectrum, have the right to be treated not only fairly, but humanely and with dignity and acceptance of their differences.

The Independent reports that in 2010 an 18-year-old autistic man with severe learning difficulties was “unlawfully deprived of his liberty” after being regularly placed in a seclusion room more than six times a day at a residential school for “children with complex needs.” The young man is described as “[suffering] from a sensory impairment and often [choosing] to walk around naked because touch is a vital way for him to communicate”; he is self-injurious and has injured caretakers. Still, placing him in a padded room 192 times in a single month, the equivalent of 6.4 times a day, was a stopgap solution — was not a solution — and an act that very likely contributed to his behaviors worsening. The school’s staff should have immediately reaccessed their procedures and found other ways of addressing his behaviors.

The judge in the above case ruled that the man’s “article 5 right to liberty and security under the European Convention on Human Rights had been breached.” It’s important that the man’s “liberty” is specifically mentioned: As Dora Raymaker writes, “Autistic Rights are Disability Rights are Human”:

While autism makes us different, autistic rights is really about those things we all need, autistic or not, disabled or not, minority or not: food and shelter, respect and love, and empowerment to live our own lives in freedom, happiness, and health.

Our goal is for Charlie to have a good life, surrounded by those who love and care for him, living and working in the community and treated with respect and understanding of his differences; of the person who he is.

See also Jason Ross‘s Drive Mom Crazy site for more information about Autistic Pride Day.

 

 

Take action!

Sign the petition to Prevent Abuse of Adults with Autism and Other Disabilities!

Sign the petition to  Makes Laws to Protect Children & Individuals with Disabilities

 

 

Related Care2 Coverage

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Photo by Jeff Filman.

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40 comments

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10:50AM PDT on Aug 29, 2011

interesting thanks

6:11PM PDT on Jun 26, 2011

Thanks.

5:59PM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

I hadn't heard of Autistic Pride day here in Australia, as it was not publicized at all. Which is a great pity, as I'm proud of being a woman with the high-functioning version of Autism, Aspergers Syndrome.

I like who I am and I'm proud of my achievements in life. I love my husband, who is also Aspie, and my Aspie daughter. I love my thirst for knowledge, my insatiable curiosity, my splinter savantism (hyperlexia) and childish sense of wonder. My career, house and garden are all an enormous source of pride to me. I value my independence.

About the only drawback is how Neurotypicals keep banging on about what a tragedy autism always is. While I understand that it's difficult for some autistics and their families, particularly those on the lower-functioning end of the spectrum, it's disheartening to be told that you're always and irretrievably disabled, particularly when you've always thought you were happy, well-adjusted and contributing to society.

Not all autistics are "disabled". Just those who can't manage by themselves. But the great majority of us are managing just fine, and only ask Neurotypicals to let us get on with life without constantly being told we're a blight on the landscape.

6:58AM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

I read most of the comments, and truly asked myself if an Autism Pride Day is appropriate...
I sure am proud of my son, who has Asperger syndrome, got his high schoold degree after some difficulties and is now studying auto CAD at professional level. He had lots of problems other kids didn't have... but he also had lots of wonderful skills that helped him connect to the world in different ways than other kids. He had a patience, a calmness, an imagination, an interest in natural sciences that made him the "odd but interesting" kid in the class.
On the other hand, he is a bit shy, and hates the spotlight... Micheal B just might be right when he says this Autism Pride Day might "throw some folks who probably just want to be left alone into the limelight". Though my son has good social skills and can speak in public, I don't think he'd want to go speak at an Autism rally...

So, Iam still undecide. Rename it the "Autism Awareness Day", as one comment suggested? Just celebrate a "Be Proud of Who You Are Day", that would include everyone and not put in the stoplight anybody that doesn't want to be there?

Maybe middle ground could be something in the line of "Autism Achievement Pride Day", where we could all celebrate the different paths individuals on the spectrum take to get to where they want to be.

4:46AM PDT on Jun 20, 2011

Thanks for the article.

3:31PM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

First petetion was closed, so I did sign the second. Thanks for the good post. Watch the movie "Rain Man" for an interesting look at autism.

8:52AM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

Second petition signed (No1 is closed).

7:13AM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

For Kristina Chew and all the pro-vaccine zombies - here's an article for you.

http://healthfreedoms.org/2011/06/14/hush-money-for-vaccine-autism-while-still-denying-link/

Read it and then ask yourself why the government has a "Vaccine Injury Compensation Program" that has quietly paid families for autism injuries for 20 years???

The same government that denies a vaccine/autism link!

So let's get this straight - drug companies, supported by shills like Kristina Chew, corrupt government officials to mandate vaccination for profits, and then our tax dollars, not the profits, are used to compensate people that are injured by the vaccines???

Must be nice huh? Your government taking care of you huh?

Wake up Care2 - this drug company shill does not belong in your list of authors!

4:01AM PDT on Jun 19, 2011

I'm totally agree with Bill.M
I am a cancer patient. Should I be proud of it? What a stupid thing would be that!!!

10:03PM PDT on Jun 18, 2011

interesting comments

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