Autism Rights Group Highland (ARGH) was formally constituted on May 1st 2007 and has continued as a collective advocacy group. ARGH is a group run by and for autistic adults. As such all full members including the management committee are autistic.
Since being formed ARGH has continued to work to strengthen the voice of autistic adults within Highland. We have three main aims that we strive to adhere to, both within ARGH and in our everyday lives:
- Inform service providers about what autistic people really experience.
- Campaign for better services for autistic people in the highlands.
- Challenge stigma and discrimination through education about autistic strengths.
We still face discrimination and are often overlooked and denied a voice; it is still common for those wanting to speak about autism to exclude us. We try to combat this by offering training, workshops or experience talks to those that wish to learn more about autism, for example: NHS Highland, the Highland council (inc. education) or parents’ groups.
During the years that ARGH have been in existence we have had an impact:
- We got the NAS to look again at their reports, and use of people on the autism spectrum rather than using more actors or models.
- We alerted the Scottish Government when monies for autism services were given to a southern based service which would result in no monies coming to Highland. One month later we noted that a sum was set aside for Highland on top of the south base monies.
- We also got the NAS to consult with the North of Scotland ASC population in their planning of the Scottish Autism Bill.
- We have been proactive in the review of NHS Dentistry Services.
We are also proactive in the new planning and design for the Adult Diagnostic and Advice Service
This is a good example of these Citizen Leadership principles:
- 3. Early Involvement
- ARGH set their own agenda and decide for themselves what issues they want to tackle
- 6 Equality
- The work that ARGH do is aimed at fighting discrimination against autistic people
- 7. Control Through Partnership
- ARGH continue to work towards a situation where they work as truly equal partners with professional bodies