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Advocate says federal parties' autism strategies miss the mark

Last Updated Oct 20, 2019 at 8:56 pm PDT

(Courtesy Autistics United Canada)
Summary

The Director of Autistics United Canada says the proposed strategies overlook the diverse needs of people with autism

The advocacy group calls for a national strategy that considers the diverse needs of all people with disabilities

They have also published a voting guide with tips on how to navigate the polls

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — All four major federal parties have made commitments to adopt a national autism strategy but on the eve of the election, an advocacy organization is opposing the concept.

The Director of Autistics United Canada says the proposed strategies overlook the diverse needs of people with autism.

Vivian Ly says while many parent-groups applaud the strategies, people with autism are missing from the conversation.

“It is a strategy largely built by non-autistic people,” she says. “Not one autistic-led advocacy group has endorsed the national autism strategy. In fact, we oppose it.”

Ly adds the strategies have been built on a survey where only 3 per cent of respondents are autistic, while 97 per cent were parents and service providers.

“It’s very concerning who’s missing from this conversation–actual autistic people and diverse autistic people,” she explains. “Often we are not just autistic, we are multiply disabled, we are traumatized, we have diverse needs and face intersectional barriers.”

Instead, Ly calls for a national strategy that considers the diverse needs of all people with disabilities.

“Why have only one strategy for autism?” she asks. “There’s still so much more to do for all disabled people in Canada”

Ly says a comprehensive strategy would build upon and go further than the Accessible Canada Act, passed earlier this year.

“Autistic people actually share a lot of concerns that other people with disabilities have, like access to housing, education, employment, and freedom from violence and discrimination.”

The organization is offering a voting tool kit with information on accessibility at polling places to help people who may have barriers to navigate voting day.

“I really want to encourage autistic people to help each other to vote,” Ly says. “This Toolkit was one effort by Autistics United Canada to help people all the people like us.”

She adds the guide also has tips on how to advocate for issues affecting the community with newly elected MPs after the election.

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