Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill: consultation

We are committed to protecting, respecting and championing the rights of people with learning disabilities and neurodivergent people. This consultation on proposals for a Learning Disabilities, Autism and Neurodivergence Bill seeks the views of everyone on how we can do this.

The language we use: "neurodivergent people and people with learning disabilities"

We recognise that different people have different preferences in terms of how they are described. In this paper we seek to respect those preferences. However, we accept that the terminology may not suit everyone.

When speaking of neurodivergence, we use identity-first language such as 'neurodivergent person' or 'autistic person', as this was preferred by the majority of such people with whom we interacted during our scoping work[1] for the Bill.

When speaking of learning disabilities, we use person-first language such as 'people with learning disabilities', as this was the preference of the majority of such people with whom we interacted during our scoping work.

We understand that for some, 'neurodivergence' refers to individuals whose brain processes are different from those of others in society. Under this model, when we use 'neurodivergent people' this refers generally to: people with learning disabilities, people with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, autistic people, and a wide variety of people whose neurology is different by virtue of ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), and other conditions.

We know that not everyone is comfortable with the word neurodivergence. Some people with learning disabilities have particularly told us this. In an attempt to balance these viewpoints, we will use the term 'neurodivergent people and people with learning disabilities' throughout this paper.

This term should also be understood as referring to all age groups, including children and young people as well as adults.

We will continue to seek guidance and feedback on the terminology that we use throughout the Bill development process to ensure that we are as inclusive and respectful as possible.


Email: LDAN.Bill@gov.scot

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