Autistic Rights Movement UK is the FIRST NATIONAL CAMPAIGNING ORGANISATION RUN ENTIRELY BY AUTISTIC PEOPLE
ARM UK MISSION STATEMENT
ARM UK is an Autistic People’s Organisation (an APO), an organisation run by autistic people. ARM UK campaigns throughout the UK and elsewhere to advance the interests of all autistic people and those with “related conditions”.
ARM UK will work to;
• encourage the establishment of Autistic People’s Organisations (APOs) in every local authority area in the UK
• encourage autistic people to have a voice, to “speak up” and to represent themselves
• encourage and support autistic people to develop the skills needed to be able to represent themselves
• ensure that autistic people are given the opportunity to be involved in developing services locally, regionally and sub-regionally as well as at a national level
• ensure that the parents, the siblings, the spouses and the children of autistic people are given the same opportunity as well as other family members, friends and supporters, paid and unpaid
• ensure that the civil and human rights of autistic people are understood and upheld
• improve services, facilities and conditions for autistic people
• increase the understanding of autistic people and their differences and needs with the general public
• raise awareness within the voluntary and statutory sectors as to what it means to be autistic
• promote the positive as well as the negative aspects of being autistic
• forge positive working relationships with parent-carer groups and other autism-related organisations across the UK and beyond
• establish links with and to seek to influence academics and academia
• ensure that the autistic population of the UK is empowered and is composed of happy, healthy, fulfilled and empowered individuals
ARM UK VISION STATEMENT
ARM UK envisages;
The establishment of Autistic People’s Organisations (APOs) within every local authority area in the UK
For these autonomous, independent APOs to come together to form a network covering the whole of the UK
The establishment of regional and sub-regional APOs as needed
A membership figure which reflects the autistic population of the UK (There are 600,000 or more autistic citizens in the UK)
Autistic citizens being given the opportunity to be involved in the decision-making processes which directly affect their lives at all levels; local, regional and national
Every local authority area having;
• appropriate services for all autistic people
• the reasonable adjustments required to enable all autistic people to access mainstream services
• the opportunity of social inclusion and independent living for all autistic citizens
• clear diagnostic pathways leading to appropriate post-diagnostic support, appropriate medical treatment and appropriate social care
ARM UK encourages autistic people to come together so as:
• to better understand each other
• to better understand what is meant by being “autistic”
• to campaign together for their rights to be recognised and upheld
• to campaign for the autism-specific services needed
• to campaign for the “reasonable adjustments” required for us to access mainstream services
• to campaign for the recognition of our access needs and for these needs to be met so that the world is made a more autism-friendly place
• to form a consensus as to what it means to be autistic
ARM UK will participate in efforts to establish European and global networks of Autistic People’s Organisations.
ARM UK would like to help solve the “problems of autism” and begin to celebrate the autistic experience.
ARM UK VALUES STATEMENT
ARM 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.
ARM 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.
• 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
ARM UK promotes the concept that being autistic involves difference rather than deficit.
ARM 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 ARM UK)
ARM 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 appropriate for these people to be “represented” by ensuring 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.
ARM UK challenges the presumption that non-verbal or otherwise seemingly “low-functioning” autistic people are learning disabled.
If a person is unable or unwilling to communicate then it is impossible to administer an IQ test and it is therefore impossible to determine whether that person is learning disabled or not.