AIPA Association for the Inclusion of People with Autism has submitted a petition to the Ministry of Social Rights and Agenda 2030 addressed to Minister Ione Belarra Urteaga, on Law 8/2021, of June 2, which reforms civil and procedural legislation with the intention of promoting support for persons with disabilities in the exercise of their legal capacity.
This law adds a new article 7 bis with the following content in section 2:
People with disabilities have the right to understand and be understood in any action that must be carried out. To that end:
a) All communications with people with disabilities, oral or written, will be made in clear, simple and accessible language, in a way that takes into account their personal characteristics and needs, using means such as easy reading. If necessary, the communication will also be made to the person who provides support to the person with a disability to exercise their legal capacity.
b) Persons with disabilities will be provided with the necessary assistance or support so that they can make themselves understood, which will include interpretation in legally recognized sign languages and the means of support for oral communication by deaf, hearing-impaired and deaf-blind people.
c) The participation of an expert professional who, as a facilitator, performs necessary adaptation and adjustment tasks so that the person with a disability can understand and be understood will be allowed.
d) The person with a disability may be accompanied by a person of their choice from the first contact with the authorities and officials
AIPA requests (taking into account that when we talk about people with ASD, Asperger Syndrome is included):
- That article 7 bis introduced by this law be applicable to people with autism without intellectual disability and without a recognized disability of 33% or more.
- That section a) include that all people with ASD can have cognitive accessibility, as recognized by law.
- For all people with ASD, it requests that in section b) the Alternative and Augmentative Communication Systems used by people with autism be recognized as supports for communication. In such a way that if any person with ASD makes use of any of these systems or several of them, they can be used.
- Since currently only people with autism and intellectual disability can be accompanied in the judicial process by a facilitator, we request that the entire ASD group (with/without associated intellectual disability; with/without disability equal to or greater than 33%) can count on this figure in that process.
AIPA expects the support of all existing associations in Spain in this proposal that aims to add to the fight for the legal rights of people with Autism, insisting on the importance of recognizing ASD as a disorder with specific characteristics and needs of its own (as recognized by the scientific community and the World Health Organization), and its incorporation in the regulatory and administrative spheres.
We make the request taking into account that Law 8/2021 Article 7 bis arises to respond to the needs raised in the UN International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of December 13, 2006 (ratified by the Spanish State on December 3, 2007 and which entered into force on May 3, 2008) but exposing the need for the entire TEA group and its needs to be contemplated in this law.
AIPA focuses on this situation after knowing the difficulties that children with ASD have in legal proceedings for custody, mistreatment, abuse… in which their testimonies were invalidated alleging that they did not look into the eyes or because of the difficulties to answer and understand long questionnaires of unadapted questions. Also understanding that these difficulties could occur at other ages, being a necessity for people with Autism according to their characteristics.