The Art of Autism celebrates Autistic Pride Day

Autism is not a disease… it is a difference. My ribbon celebrates these differences by including words that I associate with who I am. Wen of Zen, cover image title “Autism Talking”

Started in 2005 in an online forum for autistic people, Autistic Pride Day, June 18, is a day to celebrate neurodiversity. The Art of Autism celebrates neurodiversity every day.

There are many models about disability. The Art of Autism prefers the human rights model and the social model over the medical model (or the pathology paradigm).

The medical model looks at autism as a set of deficits or impairments. Under the medical model, these impairments or differences should be ‘fixed’ or changed by medical and other treatments, even when the impairment or difference does not cause pain or illness. The medical model looks at what is ‘wrong’ with the person, instead of what that person needs.

The human rights model validates an individual’s right as a human being. The principle of diversity provides the foundation to accept disability as part of human variation. Social structures and policies restricting or ignoring the rights of people with disabilities often lead to discrimination and exclusion.

The social model underpins the concept of neurodiversity. The social model looks at how we can accommodate autistic people in society. The social model identifies systemic barriers, negative attitudes and exclusion by society (purposely or inadvertently). While physical, sensory, intellectual, or psychological variations may cause individual functional limitation or impairments, these do not have to lead to disability unless society fails to take account of, and include and accommodate people regardless of their individual differences. See TedX talk by Julian Maha who is making the world more sensory inclusive.

With the support of many human rights groups, some of the barriers of disability enforced by the medical model have started to come down. One such barrier is the label “low-functioning” or “high-functioning.” Read Tom Iland’s essay on the fallacy of low and high functioning autism.

The Art of Autism believes disability rights are human rights and that people on the autism spectrum are different not less than.

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