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  • Writer's pictureAmy Duffy-Barnes

The Autism Rights Movement

The autism rights movement is a growing effort to promote awareness, acceptance, and understanding of neurodiversity, led by autistic people themselves. It is an empowering example of self-advocacy and collective action that is changing the way people with autism are viewed in society. At the heart of the autism rights movement is the idea that autism is a natural form of human diversity, not a disorder to be cured or “fixed”. They are against attempts to "cure" Autism as they see it as a way of replacing the individual's unique identity with a neurotypical one. Autistic people are calling for acceptance of their unique ways of thinking, feeling, and interacting with the world, and an end to the stigma and discrimination they often face.

The Autism Rights Movement's objectives include supporting the validity of the autistic neurotype, stopping unethical practices and methodology of treatments such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and psychiatric hospitals, advocating for the inclusion of actual autistic adults in autism organizations (no conversations about us, without us), and disputing depictions of Autism that are belittling, incorrect, and/or offensive.

Autistic advocates are working to create a more inclusive and welcoming environment, where everyone can be appreciated for their individual strengths and talents. This includes challenging the idea that autism is a “disability” or “deficit”, and instead recognizing it as a form of neurodiversity that is valuable and worthy of celebration.

Autistic people are also advocating for improved access to services and support that meet their individual needs, and for greater representation in workplaces and other institutions. They are calling for more research into the causes and effects of autism and for a better understanding of how to best support and include autistic people in the world.

The autism rights movement is making a huge difference in the lives of autistic people, and in the way our society views autism. By creating a more inclusive and affirming environment, it is helping to ensure that autistic people can live with dignity, respect, and self-determination.

The following is a list of articles, websites, organizations, and books that promote autistic rights and support autistic voices.

1. Autistic Self Advocacy Network:

2. Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network:

4. The Autism Industrial Complex: How Branding, Marketing, and Capital Investment Turned Autism into Big Business By Alicia A. Broderick:

5. The Autistic Community is having a Reckoning with ABA Therapy. We Should Listen: By Ariana Cernius:

6. The Art of Autism:

7. The Autistic Empire:

8. The Autistic Village:

9. Autistic Community and Empowerment:

10. Autistic Science Person: Why ABA Therapy is Harmful to Autistic People:

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