The Autistic People's Ottawa Declaration
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Revised: open for international Autistics
Petition summary: We are asking all Autism organizations to Include us, Accommodate us, and treat us with Dignity.
Dear Autism Organizations,
As Autistic people, we acknowledge that there is a difference in the way we process and respond to different situations. We acknowledge that we are in (for some) many ways different because of our Autism and related disorders, and in order to interact with a particularly rigid societal structures, we are often in need of accommodations to allow us to interact with others.
We are not asking to be labeled as “victims", a term which implies defeat, and we are only occasionally "patients," a term which implies passivity, helplessness, and dependence upon the care of others. We are people and we need, at times, extra support in dealing with systems. We are Autistic People of Canada and for many, you don’t need to know that. You just need to remember that not all people act the same in all situations and it is basic common kindness to respect the people you deal with.
We are writing to formally ask The Canadian Autism Spectrum Disorders Association and all Autism Organizations to ratify the below listed principles into your policies at your upcoming Annual General Meeting and Leadership Summit April 2nd and 3rd 2019 in Ottawa.
THE OTTAWA PRINCIPLES
(Adapted from The Denver Principles, developed by people living with HIV and AIDS in 1983.) We condemn attempts to label us. We, as PEOPLE (first), have a spectrum of alternative thinking and processing that is currently represented as a mental illness within the medical community.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ALL PEOPLE
Support me in defending my rights to access care, support and self-determination with consultation for anything that affects us through our lifetime.
This includes providing safe and aware work environments, access to housing as we see fit, access to community services with responsive staff who are aware of how to work with diverse needs and populations. Too often we are denied service, because our responses to atypical (to us) situations do not meet with service providers’ definitions of normal. We require accommodations to support our accessing health care, social services and other services. We do not need to be treated as difficult or different.
Learn what is needed for me, as an Autistic Person, and honour my right to live my life in the same comfort and ease with which you live yours. End the stigma and blame that is attached to us for our differences.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR AUTISTIC PEOPLE
Stay informed by staying in contact with other Autistic People.
Respond to how Autistic People are accommodated in your community.
Participate in decision making about your needs with care providers, health professionals, and community groups.
Participate in community forums – within the Autistic community and in other communities you identify with.
Acknowledge that your lived experience is a valid, important perspective, worthy of being included in discussions about your needs and desires in life.
RIGHTS OF AUTISTIC PEOPLE
Our rights, as defined by law, in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Section 15 of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states “Canada – regardless of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, colour, sex, age or physical or mental disability – is to be considered equal,” do not differ from yours. What differs is our ability to navigate societal roles and norms that come easy to Neuro-typical people in accessing and defending those rights.
This declaration is a formal, standing, request for accommodation for all people on the Autism Spectrum. At times we will require accommodations.
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