Thursday, April 30, 2015

12 Myths about Autism

12 Myths about Autism
April 2014, by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. 

1. Autism is contagious.

Nope! You can’t catch Autism. Autism is something some people are born with, like blue eyes or red hair or a brain that is very good at some things and has more trouble with others.


2. Autism is caused by vaccines.

Vaccines do not cause Autism. Please make sure your kids get their shots.


3. Autism is a disease.

Nope! Autism is a developmental disability some people are born with, like dyslexia or Down Syndrome. It is not a disease. It is a difference, and a disability.


4. Autism is a tragedy.

Nope! With the right support, Autistic people can go to school, communicate, work, live in the community, have friends, get married, start families, vote, pursue
their interests, and anything else they might want to do.


5. Autistic people are eternal children.

Nope! Autistic people grow up. An Autistic 20 year old is not a toddler in a 20 year old’s body–they are an Autistic 20 year old.


6. You can grow out of Autism.

Nope! Autism is a life-long developmental disability. Autistic children grow up into Autistic adults. The same percentage of adults and children are Autistic.


7. Autism means not being able to speak.

Communication disability is a part of diagnostic criteria for Autism, but most Autistic people do develop the ability to talk. About 15-20% of Autistic people do
not develop oral speech. They can use Augmentative and Alternative Communication to speak for themselves.


8. Autism means intellectual disability.

About 15-25% of Autistic people also have an intellectual disability. Most Autistic people are not intellectually disabled. Intellectual disability is not a part of Autism,
but some people have both.


9. Autistic people lack empathy.

Nope! Autistic people feel empathy for other people. Autistic people are people, not robots.


10. All Autistic people are savants.

About 10% of Autistic people have savant skills like perfect pitch, photographic memory, or calendar calculation. Most Autistic people are not savants.


11. Autistic people suffer from Autism.

Autistic people suffer from prejudice and discrimination. Autistic people suffer when they do not get the support and accommodation they need, when they receive substandard or segregated education or living environments, when they are kept out of the community or kept unemployed, when their civil and human rights are violated, or when their access to communication and the right to make decisions about their lives, bodies, and futures are denied. Autistic people do not suffer from Autism.


12. Only boys are Autistic.

An Autistic woman wrote this factsheet.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Discrimination against Autistic persons - UN Human Rights

Discrimination against Autistic persons
Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 3:28 pm
Press Release: United Nations Human Rights Commissioner

Discrimination against Autistic persons, the rule rather than the exception – UN rights experts

GENEVA (30 March 2015) – Two United Nations human rights experts today called for an end to discrimination against Autistic persons and a celebration of diversity. Speaking ahead of World Autism Awareness Day, the Special Rapporteurs on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, and on the right to health, Dainius PÅ«ras, noted that about one per cent of the world’s population -some 70 million people- is estimated to be on the Autism Spectrum worldwide.

“As part of human diversity, Autistic persons should be embraced, celebrated and respected. However, discrimination against Autistic children and adults is more the rule rather than the exception.

In many countries, Autistic persons lack access to services which would support, on an equal basis with others, their right to health, education, employment, and living in the community. When available, services are too often far from human rights friendly or evidence-based.

Autistic persons are particularly exposed to professional approaches and medical practices which are unacceptable from a human rights point of view. Such practices – justified many times as treatment or protection measures – violate their basic rights, undermine their dignity, and go against scientific evidence.

Autistic children and adults face the proliferation of medicalized approaches relying on the over-prescription of psychotropic medications, their placement in psychiatric hospitals and long-term care institutions, the use of physical or chemical restraint, electro-impulsive therapy, etc. This may be particularly harmful and lead to the deterioration of their condition. All too often, such practices amount to ill-treatment or torture.

The Autism Spectrum should be understood from a broader perspective, including in research. We call for caution about enthusiastic attempts to find the causes of Autism and ways to ‘cure’ Autism through sophisticated but not necessarily ethical research. Autism as a condition is a critical challenge for modern health systems, in which we need to ensure that the practice and science of medicine is never again used to cause the suffering of people.

More investment is needed in services and research into removing societal barriers and misconceptions about Autism. Autistics persons should be recognized as the main experts on Autism and on their own needs, and funding should be allocated to peer-support projects run by and for Autistic persons.

It is about providing individuals and families with the necessary skills and support to have choice and control over their lives. It is also about equal opportunities, access to inclusive education and mainstream employment to achieve equality and rights enjoyment by Autistic persons. It is about promoting their independence and respecting their dignity.
Autistic persons should be respected, accepted and valued in our societies, and this can only be achieved by respecting, protecting and fulfilling their basic rights and freedoms.”