Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Why good autism acceptance laws are needed everywhere

In recent news, the island nation of Malta became the very first country to pass an Autism Acceptance Law (not merely a law to improve awareness of autism) which involves the creation of an Autism Advisory Council which must have autistic representatives, improvement of diagnostic techniques, and promotion of autistic people's right to self-determination.

However, despite its promises and its recognition of the importance of respecting the potential of autistic people like myself, it fails to tackle the major issues autistic people face in Malta just as they do in Britain and elsewhere-high levels of unemployment and a lack of respect for autistic self-identity by the non-neurodiverse population. In Britain, the unemployment rate for autistic people, whichever position they occupy on the spectrum, exceeds 80%; by comparison the population in Britain as a whole has on average an unemployment rate of only 6% as of 2016. I myself have experienced both of these issues. This is why the input of autistic people in any law concerning their welfare must be included and valued.

Nevertheless, despite its flaws, this breakthrough demonstrates why there is a need for good autism acceptance laws to be adopted in Britain, and for our wishes to be respected. Awareness is not enough; understanding and acceptance are what we want from those who are not autistic and have not (directly or indirectly) experienced autism.

Alan.

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