Russell Stronach, co-Chair of the Autistic Rights Movement (ARM UK), joined us for a live online Q & A on Friday 24 February 2012. He answered questions about autism and autism rights. You can read the transcript below.
The ARM UK, the only national user-led autism organisation in the UK, is part of a wider emergent autistic rights movement. It is a movement of autistic people not “people with autism”. The ARM UK believes autism is not something a person one “has” any more than a person “has Englishness” or “has heterosexuality”. 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 cleaves to the 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 meaning of the word “autism”.
It insists that autistic people must be invited into the discourse regarding the nature of autism and what it means to be autistic.