In Poland there is a huge need for the community representing the entire autism spectrum to work continually with public authorities at various levels to ensure equal access to services, and reduce discrimination and exclusion.
The number of rulings certifying autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is increasing in Poland each year (7617 in 2012 to 19 859 in 2019 – Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy statistics). The issue addressed by the project is that the particular needs of people who have ASD are not accounted for in legislative acts and measures based on legislative acts. Due to people with ASD and their parents, self-advocates not being directly involved in social discourse, there is an increase in harmful stereotypes and lack of opportunities to reach the general public and policy-makers. The project aims to empower adults with ASD and their families.
We will work to develop self-advocacy skills of people with ASD (work divided between two groups, tailored to the capabilities of the participants). We will conduct advocacy measures in the community to defend the rights and interests of people with ASD: a role in consultations on legislative acts and participation in parliament and senate committee and subcommittee meetings, and proposals for legislative changes. At the same time, we will provide legal advice for people with ASD and their families, and personnel in various public agencies throughout Poland.
The self-advocacy training will be given to ten people, of whom three or four will become self-advocates in practice. Support under the project will be given to 170 people (legal aid, awareness-raising measures, improvement of soft skills). We will consult the community and people with autism on approximately 24 documents/programs/legislative acts and ten community projects affecting people with ASD. We will also draw up twelve joint standpoints on ASD with respect to public authorities.