1. Communicate respectfully. Most autistic people have some communication differences or difficulties. This means that in a space where most people present are autistic, we have to think about how we communicate and how what we say or do might feel to others.
2. Interact respectfully. It is not okay to make personal attacks on other people or marginalized groups of people. It is not okay to look for dating or sexual partners at PCAA meetings. It is also not okay to touch or hug other people without their consent.
3. Be mindful of your language. Lots of people have different feelings about the words we use to describe disability. Many common terms have been used to hurt people who are part of our community. This includes labels like “high/low functioning,” “mild/severe autism,” language like mental or developmental age, and language that implies that disability, including intellectual and cognitive disability, are shameful or bad.
4. PCAA wants to create a safer space. Autistic people exist in all cultures, races, disabilities, genders, sexualities, and other groups. PCAA members should try to keep our events safe for and respectful of all autistic people, even if they are not in the room.
5. Membership is confidential. This means that it is not okay to tell other people who is and isn’t Autistic. It is not always safe for people to be open about being autistic in our community. Telling other people if a person is Autistic can jeopardize their employment, housing, and right to parent their children.
6. Respect people’s sensory needs. This means not wearing heavy perfumes to meetings, remembering to silence cell phones and other devices during our meetings/events, and doing your best to hurt others through sensory triggers.
7. Feel free to leave the meeting or walk around for any reason. We’ve all been there and understand!
Members who break these rules will be approached individually and respectfully warned, including an explanation, in plain language, of how their behavior violated these rules. Members who are found to repeatedly disregard these rules without effort to change their behavior may be asked not to attend meetings.