Note: The policy of Rooted in Rights is to use person-first language; However, identity-first language will be used in this article, as a reflection of the wishes of ASAN.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network has created a video welcoming Autistic individuals into the Autistic community. The video, which is directed towards Autistic people and can be viewed below, defines autism, addresses disability from the perspective of Autistic people, debunks the idea that Autistic people are alone, and offers resources for Autistic individuals.
The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, or ASAN, explains autism by saying that, “Everyone’s brain is different, and the way your brain works is called Autism. It’s not a sickness or something that needs to be cured. It’s the way you see the world, and it will always be a part of you.” According to ASAN, “Being autistic means that you see the world differently. These differences can make it hard for you to understand people and for them to understand you.”
The video also addresses how Autistic people relate to disability. ASAN states that Autistic people are considered disabled, and that, “Disability is something that the rest of the world does to people whose bodies or brains are different in a way that they don’t support. Autistic people are disabled by a world that isn’t set up to support Autistic people. This doesn’t mean that Autistic people are damaged or broken. It means that we’re different in a way that the world doesn’t have built-in support for.”
ASAN describes being Autistic as good, because Autism is a different way of thinking and “people with different ways of thinking can work together to make positive changes in the world.” The video emphasizes that Autistic people are not alone – in fact, at least one in every 69 people are Autistic. Finally, ASAN encourages Autistic individuals to know their rights because, “As an autistic person, you have legal rights that protect you and let you be part of society. Autistic students have the right to an Individualized Education Plan, which helps you reach your academic goals, and the right to accommodations which give you extra help in the classroom. Autistic adults have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
If you or a friend or family member is Autistic, you may want to look up resources such as Autism NOW, The Autism Women’s Network, and The Autistic Self Advocacy Network itself, as stated in the video.
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