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International Autism Policy Initiative

Background

The International Autism Policy Initiative stems from a series of events hosted by Autism Alliance of Canada that convened Autistic people and experts from around the world to discuss strengths, challenges, and opportunities in autism policy development.

During the 8th Annual Canadian Autism Leadership Summit in April 2022, we successfully hosted our first international panel on autism policy: “Towards a Canadian National Autism Strategy: International Learnings and Lessons from around the World.” The panel included policymakers from Canada (Public Health Agency of Canada), the United States (National Institute of Mental Health), United Kingdom (UK Government), Malta (Government of Malta), and Europe (Autism Europe).

We continued to strengthen international relationships and to foster knowledge exchange at the 9th Annual Canadian Autism Leadership Summit in April 2023, and at the United Nations’ 16th session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in May 2023. At those events, we brought together international policy experts to share challenges, best practices, and policy recommendations for the development of rights-based Autism policy.

Next steps

This series of events shed light on the importance of sharing knowledge across countries and generated momentum which has led to the launch of the International Autism Policy Initiative. This initiative aims to:

  1. Consolidate what is currently being done across the globe through an international Scoping Review of National Autism Strategies.
  2. Bring together an expert multi-disciplinary working group to share lessons learned and establish consensus. 
  3. Generate global recommendations for autism policy development. 

See below for the projects and initiatives that stem from the International Autism Policy Initiative.

A goal of any autism policy, whether it pertains more to Autistic children, Autistic adults, or caregivers and other actors, should be that Autistic children will become Autistic adults who are content, supported, able to access their rights, and have unlimited opportunities. Autistic people themselves are the only true experts on how to reach that goal. Any autism policy created without Autistic self-advocates with a variety of lived experiences at the forefront will at best have limited success and at worst, harm Autistic people.

Sarah Ewart
Labour and Employment Lawyer at Forte Workplace Law

Projects

Autism Alliance of Canada’s Advocacy at the United Nations

As an advocate for the rights of Autistic people, Autism Alliance of Canada has become involved in United Nations conferences and events, aimed at enhancing the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in countries across the world.

International Autism Policy Working Group

The International Autism Policy Working Group's goal is to push for rights-based policymaking that supports Autistic people and their families and let them take part in society fully. This group wants to increase awareness and share knowledge to make life better for Autistic people all around the world.

Resources and Outputs

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Statement for the Online Regional Consultations with the CRPD

During the Caribbean and North American Regional Consultations on June 8, 2021, the Autism Alliance of Canada’s Board Members – Maddy Dever, Rebekah Kintzinger, and Corey Walker – shared their perspectives on COVID-19’s impact on institutionalization and deinstitutionalization alongside fellow self-advocates and disability organizations from the region.

Join us

As a member of Autism Alliance of Canada, you will contribute to enhancing our impact through a strong, unified, collaborative voice.