i autistic » Advocacy » 12 Guidelines for the Autism Community

Inspired by the International Charter of Autists Rights, I created this document with the hope of promoting unity within the entire autism community. Instead of engaging in conflict, the Tripartite of Autistics, Caregivers and Autism Professionals can work together to promote the welfare of autistics in a peaceful and mutually respectful manner.

1. Equality: Autism is not a shameful disorder to be cured but a neutral neurological difference that can contribute much to Humanity if developed properly; any assistance for autistics should be considered in this context as a minimum mark of respect. [Consider the possibility that we may have yet to find good solutions that can bring out autistic potential because autism was rare in the past. Although autism usually comes with conditions such as chronic fatigue, intense anxiety and intellectual disability, pure autism itself is merely a neurological difference.]

2. Identity: Just as people can identify themselves by their race, culture, religion and background with pride, autistics can also identify themselves by their neurological difference with pride. If an autistic chooses to use such an identification, we call upon everyone in the autism community to respect and celebrate it.

3. Fairness: Both the negative as well as positive expressions of autism should be presented and considered in autism advocacy and awareness work. All perspectives should be heard in the context that led to a person creating them. [Sometimes people say things that they do not mean out of emotional distress; they need to be comforted rather than attacked.]

4. Respect: Each of us is worthy of respect and dignity even if we disagree with each other. We should make the best effort to treat each other with the same respect and dignity that we deem we deserve for ourselves. All our perspectives should be considered with respect even if they are offensive. [If we wish to gain respect from others, treat them with respect first.]

5. Diversity: Our differences do not make us inherently superior or inferior to each other. We should avoid passing judgment on others based on our narrow definitions and models of success (such as the amount of material wealth that one has accumulated or if one has arrived at social milestones like marriage).

6. Liberty: We are responsible for our choices, but not that for others. If we disagree with the choices of others but are ourselves enabling these choices (e.g. providing funding), then we have the right to communicate our objections and withdraw our support. However, we should not obstruct other’s freedom to choose should they persist by their efforts and do not cause harm to others.

7. Empathy: Each of us must face our struggles and pain in life. We should avoid making the struggles of others more difficult with our words and actions. [A reminder that all the guidelines apply to everyone in the autism community.]

8. Win-Win: Whenever we encounter something that opposes our work, we should consider how we can operate differently or win over the opposition by addressing their concerns and interests with a better deal or alternative. Conflict should be avoided if mutually beneficially cooperation can be achieved.

9. Aspiration: Each of us has our dreams and approaches of making the world a better place, which we should make the best effort to develop and express pragmatically both for ourselves and the people around us.

10. Inclusivity: When we create projects that are meant to advocate for the interests of a certain group, we should ensure that members of the group have the opportunity to be an integral part of creating our project as much as possible.

11. Integrity: We should ensure that we are setting a good example for the world. When we report and expose instances of problematic practices, we can provide others with a good role model to follow.

12. Proactivity: Inequality and imperfection exist. Rather than struggle against what that we cannot change, we should focus on changing the things that we have control/influence over. Positive change takes time and patience, no matter if it is for an individual or all Humanity.