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European Union Charter of Rights for Persons with Autism

Author: Disabled World : Contact:

Published: 2014-10-24

Synopsis and Key Points:

Thursday May 9th, 1996 was an historic occasion in the European Union for the attainment of rights by persons with Autism.

Main Digest

The Charter of Rights for Person with Autism was co-written by Pat Matthews, Executive Director of the Irish Society for Autism.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Autistic disorder, sometimes called autism or classical ASD, is the most severe form of ASD, while other conditions along the spectrum include a milder form known as Asperger syndrome, and childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (usually referred to as PDD-NOS). Although ASD varies significantly in character and severity, it occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups and affects every age group. Experts estimate that 1 out of 88 children age 8 will have an ASD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, March 30, 2012). Males are four times more likely to have an ASD than females.

Thursday May 9th, 1996 will be remembered by parents, professionals and friends of people with Autism as a historic occasion in the European Union for the attainment of rights by persons with Autism.

On this special day the President of the European Parliament announced that Written Declaration 3/96 by Mrs Banotti on the rights of people with Autism had been signed by 331 Members and passed by the parliament.

Pursuant to Rule 48 (4) of the European Parliament, the Parliament instructed its President to forward the declaration on all EU languages to the Institutions of the Union and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

This is only the third declaration to be adopted since the rules changed in 1990.

The Declaration will have far reaching consequences for the quality of life for children and adults with Autism across Europe.

The Declaration states that people with Autism should have the same rights enjoyed by all EU citizens, where such be appropriate and in the best interest of the person with Autism and that these rights should be enhanced and enforced by appropriate legislation in each member state.

Diagnostic services, individualized education, family support, housing, vocational training and life long care, will all now have to be adequately addressed and appropriate services provided.

On behalf of people with Autism I congratulate Ms. Mary Banotti and all the other M.E.P.'s who worked hard to achieve this momentous approval.

Pat Matthews
Executive Director, Irish Society for Autism.
Immediate Past President, World Autism Organization.

European Charter for Persons with Autism:

People with autism should share the same rights and privileges enjoyed by all of the European population where such are appropriate and in the best interests of the person with autism.

These rights should be enhanced, protected and enforced by appropriate legislation in each state.

The United Nations declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons (1971) and the Rights of Handicapped Persons (1975) and other relevant declarations on human rights should be considered and in particular, for people with autism the following should be included:

Presented at the 4th Autism-Europe Congress, Den Haag, 10 May 1992.

Adopted as a Written Declaration by the European Parliament on May 9th, 1996.

Autism-Europe, Avenue Van Becelaere 26B, bte 21, B - 1170 Bruxelles, Belgium

Phone +32 2 675 75 05
Fax +32 2 675 72 70



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