May Hot Topics (Part 1): 10th National Youth Parliament and the Right of Every Autistic to Represent Themselves

Greetings!

It seems that I have been writing one blog post or two per month, so I guess I’d stick with this trend for a while on this site.

In this post, we’ll be discussing what I consider as hot topics for Autistic BigBro this May: my upcoming stint at the 10th Parliament of Youth Leaders and the latest on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

* * * * * * * * * *

This coming May, I will be representing the autism sector as I was selected to be part of the 10th Parliament of Youth Leaders, a youth conference held once every two years by the National Youth Commission.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Autism Society Philippines and the Association for Adults with Autism Philippines for believing in my capacity to lead my fellows through representation in the youth sector. Special thanks go as well to the NYC for letting me in the conference, despite the fact that the official applications were already closed.

I am highly grateful for the effort and support you guys have given me. Thank you.

* * * * * * * * * *

It goes without saying that every person with disability is required to represent their respective sector in the local and national government, especially in issues that affect them. Section 4.3 of the CRPD specifically states that “States Parties shall closely consult with and actively involve persons with disabilities, including children with disabilities” in developing and implementing laws and policies catering to them.

On the question on mental capacity, the Committee on the CRPD issues a General Comment #1 on Article 12 (Equal Recognition Before the Law) on 11 April 2014 answering that question. It specifically states that “Under article 12 of the Convention, perceived or actual deficits in mental capacity must not be used as justification for denying legal capacity.” It also tackles on substitute decision-making (where parents/guardians make decisions for PWD on account of their mental capacity), specifically aiming at its prohibition and abolition, in favor of supported decision-making (where PWD make their decisions, with duly-exercised guidance and assistance).

Considering the premises stated on the CRPD, it is unfortunate that some disability sectors have been represented not by those with the disability, but by their parents, guardians, or professionals. It seems to be the case with disabilities concerning development and cognitive conditions (Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, etc.), where the majority of those involved in constructing and implementing policies affecting those with said disabilities are parent-led organizations.

While their intentions may be noble, with parental instinct into consideration, it still flouts the premise of inclusion of persons with disabilities, regardless of whatever limitations they may have.

But don’t get me wrong, dear parents: I love my parents, as much as I loved you guys. Believe me when I say that you definitely want what is best for your children. One day, I would be a parent myself, and would share your sentiments. But let’s face it: We, your kids, will grow up, and at one point, will have our own voices. And just like you, we also want to taken seriously. We also want to be heard. Please give us a chance to represent ourselves. Don’t put everything unto yourselves. We want to help you to help us.

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And that bring us to another premise: the fine line between being a self-advocate and just a poster child for your disability. That, along with my diverse roles I play in the community and how I manage to deal with them, will be discussed on the second part of this blog post.

As a preview, here’s a photo to get you by.

Do you stand up for your rights, or let others speak on your behalf?
Do you stand up for your rights, or let others speak on your behalf?

Until then, cheerio.

Autistic BigBro

* * * * * * * * * *

Resources:

General Comment #1 on Article 12 (Equal Recognition Before the Law): http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CRPD/Shared%20Documents/1_Global/CRPD_C_GC_1_7383_E.doc

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml

 

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