Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Acceptance as a human right

I've been asked if there is 'one message' I would like people to take from my Autism Acceptance posts, and there is:
Human rights should be non-negotiable. Beyond race, culture, religion, sex/gender, and yes- disability or diagnosis- our key human dignity must always be at the forefront of our experience.
Critical to human rights is the right to self-determination. This right encompasses the right to make choices about our minds, our bodies and our identities. It is about the right to say "yes" and "no" in any language we know. It is about the right for our existence to be about ourselves and not the experience others have of us.
If society hasn't set itself up to meet these criteria, then society must change. It must adapt. It must accommodate. The human being must always trump the social structure. Only then is human equality possible.
It is my hope to set this foundation for Sam so that he might one day become an adult capable of self-determination- not only through his own will but also through social structures that empower and demand it. It is my hope that one day, his value as a human being will not be dependent on how many words he says or even how many thoughts he has; that it be determined by the simple virtue of his humanity, no more or less than tangible than yours or mine.
If there is one message I would like you to take from me this April, it is this: Acceptance means acknowledging, understanding, and respecting that all human beings are equal. Anything less than full equality is an intolerable human rights violation.

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