What Are My Rights?
Summary of Rights of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism
(Based on 34-B MRSA Section 5601-5608)
There is a state law that says people with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism have certain rights. There are some things you have the right to do, and some things people cannot do to you or make you do.
It is important for you to know what your rights are so you can speak up for what you want, and help speak up for other people too. Only your guardian can change these rights for you, and then only sometimes. If you aren't sure what your rights are, ask! You can ask a supporter, your caseworker or the advocate. You can call the advocate in Portland at 822-0270.
Here is a summary of the law. If you would like to see the whole law, please ask and we will give you a copy and help you understand it.
- You have a right to be treated with respect and dignity.
- You have the same rights as all other citizens of the state and the country, unless the court has said you do not.
- You have the right to privacy and to be treated humanely.
- No one can abuse you, keep you away from things you need, or take advantage of you.
- You have the right to be told what the rules are where you live and where you work.
- You need to be told what will happen if you break the rules.
- You can help to make the rules.
- You have the right to freedom of religion.
- You may go to the church you want and pray if you-want.
- No one can make you go to a church if you don't want to.
- You have a right to communication.
- You can receive your own mail. No one can read your mail unless you say it's okay. No one can stop you from writing or mailing letters.
- You can use the telephone to call anyone you want. Nobody can listen to your phone calls unless you say it's okay. You cannot make calls you can't pay for.
- You can have visitors. No one can hang around when you have visitors unless you say it's okay. No one can make you have visitors you don't want to have.
- You have a right to look for a job.
- You have a right to be paid for work you do.
- You have a right not to be denied a job because of your disability.
- You have a right to vote.
- If you need help, you may choose someone to go into the voting booth with you.
- You don't have to tell anyone who you voted for unless you want to.
- You have a right to your things.
- No one can take your things away from you, unless you are going to hurt someone with them. There are rules about when they can be taken away and for how long.
- You have a right to be active in the community and have access to places where you can get exercise.
- including the use of available indoor and outdoor facilities and equipment.
- You have a right to choose or decline social activities.
- This includes changing your schedule
- Social interaction with others such as who you choose to talk to
- Where you choose to sit
- You have a right to nutritious food.
- If someone fixes your meals, you have a right to be given enough healthy food to eat.
- No one can make you miss a meal to punish you.
- You have a right to medical treatment.
- You can see a doctor, psychiatrist, counselor or a dentist. You can ask them to explain what they are going to do so you can understand it.
- You have a right to refuse treatment you don't want.
- You have a right to be free from forced sterilization.
- Even your guardian cannot force you to be sterilized unless you agree or the court says you have to.
- You have a right to be free from restraint.
- No one can give you medicine to punish you or just to make you sleepy or quiet.
- No one may hit you or hurt you.
- No one may lock you alone in a room.
- No one may hold you with force or tie you up to stop you from doing something, unless you are going to hurt yourself or someone else. Even then, there are rules about how they can touch you.
- You have a right to Behavioral support, modification, and management.
- Including Therapeutic devices or interventions