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World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, 2017

2017 Theme: “Toward Autonomy and Self-Determination”

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognizes the right of persons with disabilities to independence of person and to individual autonomy (article 3). Moreover, the CRPD highlights the right of persons with disabilities to “legal capacity on an equal basis with others and in all aspects of life” (article 12).

Legal capacity is instrumental to the recognition of a person as a human being of full personhood, with the right to take decisions and enter into contracts. However, certain abilities have often been seen as necessary qualifications for full personal autonomy, creating a barrier to full societal inclusion for people with autism.

At LiveWorkPlay we agree with our many friends and allies worldwide that it is time to move beyond awareness and even beyond acceptance – it is time to appreciate and value those who identify as autistic and to celebrate the diversity of the human race.

One practical step towards this outcome is to legally recognize and make available options such as supported decision-making, so that citizens who need assistance in communicating their wishes can do so with the support of people they trust, rather than having their rights stripped away and decisions made by others who are not of their choosing and have no understanding of their personhood or wishes.