The Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports has signed onto the Joint Statement on the Universal Civil and Human Rights of People with the Most Significant Developmental Disabilities issued by the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN) on May 12, 2020. The Alliance joins over 30 organizations who work with the disability community that have endorsed the statement and/or signed on with solidarity.

Joint Statement on the Universal Civil and Human Rights of People with the Most Significant Developmental Disabilities  

People with disabilities have the same civil and human rights as their peers without disabilities. Those rights are not modified, lessened, or “balanced” against other considerations because of their support needs. Every individual with a developmental disability, including those with the most significant intellectual disability, the most complex communication needs, and the most challenging behaviors, is a person with the right to:

  • Self-determination, including setting their own goals and making decisions about all aspects of their lives;
  • Community living, rather than residing in a segregated or institutional setting;
  • Education that is inclusive and promotes academic, civic, and social knowledge and skills;
  • Employment that is integrated and pays fair wages;
  • Freedom from abuse, neglect, and exploitation, including freedom from restraint, seclusion, and aversive intervention; 
  • Nondiscrimination in and equitable access to any and all needed health care; and,
  • Public policies that ensure their access to the same choices, opportunities, and experiences as people without disabilities.

The evidence is unambiguous that every person–even those with the most significant disabilities, who have complex medical, behavioral, or communication needs, or who need support 24 hours a day–can successfully learn, live, and work in the community. We also know that when people with disabilities are integrated and included in the community, they are safer, happier, gain more skills, and have a dramatically higher quality of life. We acknowledge that existing service systems may be inadequate–but we also know that practical solutions do exist to support people with the most intense needs to live full lives of meaning and purpose in their communities. The rightful focus of attention for all stakeholders must be on improving systems and scaling up high-quality community-based services, not a return to institutions.

Community living, inclusion, and self-determination are the rights of all people with disabilities. All means all. These rights are universal and apply equally and fully to all of humanity–including people with the most significant developmental disabilities, who have always been the last to be allowed their full rights. Civil and human rights are universal to all people and are not dependent on the level of support someone may require. Public policies, civil infrastructures, services, and supports for people with disabilities must be designed with this recognition. All means all.

To view the list of organizations that have endorsed and/or signed onto the statement, you can view it here.