Members of the autism community, comprising those with conditions on the autism spectrum, such as autism and asperger’s, are hereby declaring that we are a minority group and wish to be accorded the legal protection and freedom from discrimination that is shown to other minority groups. We recognise ourselves as a minority group based on the following factors-
People on the autism spectrum 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 criticsm 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 spectrumites 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.
We could also include this in a working statement by way of explanation-
The classic definition of prejudice is the one put forth by the famous Harvard psychologist, Gordon Allport, who published The Nature of Prejudice in 1954: “Prejudice is an antipathy based on faulty and inflexible generalization. It may be felt or expressed. It may be directed toward a group or an individual of that group”.
THE DEFINITION OF MINORITY GROUPS (OUT-GROUPS):
1. They are oppressed or persecuted at the hands of a dominant group, and as a result of the power differential that develops, they are disadvantaged, and the dominant group is advantaged.
2. They are distinguished by physical or cultural traits that distinguish them from the dominant group, allowing them to be easily “lumped” together and “placed” is less desirable locations.
3. They are self-conscious, with an idea of one-ness or peoplehood, based upon the perception of common suffering and burdens.
4. Membership is not voluntary, but is instead an ascribed position where the person is born into this status.
5. By choice or necessity, they usually marry within their own group (endogamy). It is by choice to preserve a unique cultural heritage or by necessity because the dominant group scorns or discourages intermarriage.