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Autistic UK

PROMOTING THE NEURODIVERSITY PARADIGM




 

Autistic UK Values Statement

Autistic UK believes in the central principle of the Madrid Declaration; “nothing about disabled people without disabled people” and seeks to ensure that autistic voices are heard.

It seeks to include as broad a range of autistic people as possible.

It seeks to challenge the consensus view of the meaning of the word “autism”.

It seeks to encourage the emergence of a consensus view on the nature of the autistic experience within the autistic population of the UK.

Autistic UK believes autism is not something a person “has” any more than a person “has Englishness” or “has heterosexuality”.

It does not seek to answer the question, “What is autism?”; it seeks to ask the question, “What does it mean to be autistic?”

It applies the social model of disability to autism arguing that autistic people are disadvantaged because society disadvantages them, not because they “are autistic”.

It challenges the various myths and falsehoods regularly propogated concerning autism.

It insists that autistic people must be invited into the discourse regarding the nature of autism and what it means to be autistic.

It challenges

  • the Triad of Impairments as a meaningful summary of autistic characteristics
  • the terms “high-functioning autism” and “low-functioning autism”
  • the concept of the “autistic spectrum”
  • the claims that autistic people “lack empathy”, are “emotionally illiterate”, are socially illiterate, lack a sense of humour, lack imagination, lack creativity
  • the claim the autism is “predominantly a male condition”

Autistic UK promotes the concept that being autistic involves difference rather than deficit.

Autistic UK operates on the principle of inclusivity.

The autistic population is an extremely heterogeneous group.

It is probable that the only feature common to those people diagnosed autistic is the fact that they are all diagnosed autistic.
It argues that all those interested in addressing the various questions surrounding the experience of being autistic ought to be involved in that conversation (including those whose views are sharply divergent with those of Autistic UK)

Autistic UK recognises that many autistic people are struggle to represent themselves and some are incapable of representing themselves

Some can represent themselves without support
Some would benefit from support
Some need support
Some need a high level of highly skilled support
Some, even with support, will be unable to represent themselves

This last group, although they might be able to express preference and even participate in, for example, designing their own “care package”, nonetheless will struggle to engage with a “political” or “strategic” agenda (such as designing local services).

We are aware that in some situations the most appropriate people to speak on behalf of these people are their parents or other family members.

In other situations it might be more appropriate for these people to be “represented” through the involvement of more able autistic people.

We encourage family carers to represent themselves as carers.

Some autistic people are family carers of autistic people too.

Non-verbal or uncommunicative autistic people should always be given “the benefit of the doubt” in terms of IQ.

The definition of a “person with a learning disability” in British legislation follows that of the World Health Organisation; a person with an IQ of 70 or below.

Autistic UK challenges the assumption that non-verbal or otherwise seemingly “low-functioning” autistic people must be learning disabled.

If a person has little or no verbal communication then administering an IQ test is problematical and determining the IQ of such people is not a straightforward matter.

Often no attempt is made to determine the IQ of such people.

Without formal IQ testing the term “learning disabled” ought not to be applied to anyone.

Tools with an inbuilt language bias such as the Wechsler Scales (Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children or WISC and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale or WAIS) should not be relied upon with autistic people non-verbal or otherwise and whatever their apparent IQ.

Tools such as the Raven Matrices should also be used in order to obtain an accurate IQ score and to gain a better understanding of how difficulties with language might be affecting the individual.

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