ADHD Autistic monotropism and the limitation period

ADHD Autistic monotropism and the limitation period

Limitations that Restrict Access to Justice

Limitation periods appear purpose-built to maintain inequities and deny autistic people recompense. By placing strict deadlines on seeking legal redress, limitations ultimately serve to conserve institutional resources. Little consideration given to what justice may be sacrificed for sake of efficiency and cost savings.

This approach has long disadvantaged autistic creatives, like musicians fighting exploitation. Their common narratives all feature themes of stolen work, no recourse, futility of engagement. For each there exist valid claims warranting fair hearing, yet limitations operate as a barricade. By design or apathy, this bars autistic people from avenues to accountability.

With no fail-safes for those impaired by developmental conditions, limitations provide excuses to avoid proper resolutions. Why right wrongs when one can cite arbitrary clocks that expired through no fault of the victim? For an autistic person already overwhelmed, the message rings clear – justice is not intended for you here. Don’t waste scarce personal resources tilting at windmills.

If limitations serve as inhibitors to accessing and participation in the legal system, how far must the access bar be raised before the doors open? If limitations aim to conserve institutional resources, when will those resources be allocated to dismantle barriers facing the vulnerable? For limitations reveal priorities. And where autistic voices go unheard, what truths emerge on who and what our justice system seeks to serve?

Autism presents many challenges that can make pursuing major legal claims difficult for affected individuals. Autistic people often struggle with executive functioning, consistency, communication skills, stress management, and other cognitive or developmental issues. These disabilities combined with a lack of financial resources creates nearly insurmountable barriers to bringing forth a complex claim within strict time limitations.

The standard 6 year limitation places enormous pressure on autistic individuals to recognise valid causes of action, seek appropriate legal advice, consistently drive their case forward, and finance expensive court procedures. For those already struggling with unemployment, poverty, and homelessness, these demands may be impossible to meet.

The core symptoms of autism, including sensory sensitivity, rigid thinking, difficulty articulating thoughts, and impaired social awareness directly conflict with the capabilities needed to coordinate complex legal activities. The strict and unforgiving nature of limitation cutoff points do not account for the pace and severity of impairment associated with autism spectrum disorders.

Access to justice would be better served by allowing judicial discretion to extend or waive limitation periods when claimants provide sufficient evidence that the fact they are autistic prevented timely pursuit of a claim. The skills, resources, stamina, and cognition necessary should be considered against the individual’s specific deficits and difficulties caused by their disability. A fairer, more compassionate legal system would not bar valid claims merely because an autistic individual could not conform to rigid timetables constructed with neurotypical claimants in mind. Legal reforms better incorporating modern understandings of neurodiversity and disabilities could help mend current deficiencies.

In situations where autistic people may not even recognise they have been wronged until decades after the fact, extending limitation periods becomes even more crucial to access to justice. An autistic person’s right to have their grievances heard should not be restricted due to disadvantages innate to their neurology.

AI as an Avenue to Justice

The workload of pursuing justice has long been insurmountable for many autistic individuals. Correcting decades of mis-attributed music credits or investigating exploitation requires an enormous sustained effort. For one with a large creative catalogue who has struggled to maintain control of their work, self-advocacy in complex legal settings has bordered on impossible.

Before assistive technologies like AI, an autistic person could hardly fathom self-representation in venues as inaccessible as the High Court. The communication and executive functioning challenges alone create barriers to constructing one’s case and seeing it through the convoluted procedures. Even with merit on one’s side, the cards are stacked against an autistic individual navigating the system independently.

But emerges AI as a potential tool for levelling the playing field. By automating research, summarising complex details, generating readable arguments, and allowing hands-free voice direction for those with motor challenges, AI holds promise for opening the possibility of legal self-advocacy. No longer must one rely solely on their own limited capacities to rein in exploitation of their creative works or pursue fair resolution of systemic wrongs.

Though merely a technology and not a substitute for needed reforms and supports, AI represents one advancement that can provide a lifeline to equitability. Such innovations disruption established norms in which some seemingly unbeatable adversary held all the leverage. For the quest of justice by marginalised people, the implications of this shifting landscape warrant examination.

Barriers to Justice: Exploitation of Autistic Traits

Autistic individuals frequently experience meltdowns and burnouts as a result of their disability. When overwhelmed, entering fight-or-flight mode, and sensory systems overloading, autistic people can fully shut down. Likewise, the trauma of past experiences can make facing similar situations again virtually impossible.

Unfortunately, some institutions leverage these autistic traits to avoid accountability and justice. Prolonged obfuscation and opaque communications from corporations, agencies, and other entities can spur meltdowns and burnouts. When autistic victims reach the point of complete exhaustion, they often have no choice but to withdraw from the engagement.

This allows the offending organisation to overload autistic individuals, ignore communication accommodations, and ultimately eject autistic people from obtaining resolution. The autistic person’s inherent disabilities and vulnerabilities are exploited as a shield for the entity to avoid consequences.

Ongoing, torturous efforts just to get basic answers or information from unresponsive organisations drain autistic victims’ limited time and energy. Each small battle requiring intense focus on confusing and lengthy processes, an unsuitable communication style, and constant risk of sensory overload. When the inevitable burnout hits, the entity gets away while the autistic person must recover and regroup before resuming the fight for justice. The cycle continues indefinitely while the limitations clock ticks down.

Burnout and Justice for Autistic People

In those with ADHD or autism, burnout often stems from periods of intense, exhausted hyperfocus on a particular task or interest. This monotropic tendency to become completely engrossed in one thing leads to neglect of other areas. When burnout finally hits, the autistic/ADHD person’s overtaxed mental resources necessitate shifting attention elsewhere to recover.

Thus, the very traits that allow for deep concentration also precipitate abandoning subjects mid-stream when reserves are depleted. For autistic and ADHD people challenging unjust situations, this means their monotropic drive enables temporary intense focus on pursuing justice against the odds. But ultimately, burnout forces a change of subject to regain equilibrium, leaving justice unmet.

Offending parties are cognisant and can exploit this tendency. Simply overwhelm and obstruct the autistic/ADHD person long enough, and their own need to adjust focus will eject them from the fight. This leaves the target drained and the wrongdoer unscathed. Like using innocuous traits against them, their internal wiring for intense concentration and switching interests becomes weaponised into forfeiting justice.

Accommodating these neurodivergent patterns through flexibility and preventing malicious burnout rather than penalising with deadlines and restrictions provides one path to accessibility. But it also requires examining systems that allow the exploitation of autistic and ADHD strengths to deny them fair resolution.

Other Barriers to Legal Redress for Autistic People

Autistic individuals face many obstacles when seeking legal redress that warrant re-evaluating strict limitation periods. Communication impairments and literal thinking cause difficulties articulating harms done, understanding legal concepts, and expressing claims coherently. Executing practical steps like finding lawyers, compiling evidence, and consistently driving a case forward requires organisational skills and task execution abilities that may be lacking.

Exhaustion, burnout, and sensory overload from lengthy court processes can further prevent autistic people from seeing cases through in a “reasonable” timeframe. Even basic tasks like travelling to court or participating in hearings present significant challenges due to sensory sensitivities. Inflexible judges, juries, and administrative staff unaware of autism’s impacts add additional burdens.

Financial limitations present further barriers. Many autistic adults struggle to maintain steady employment and income, making legal fees and expenses cost prohibitive. Those already impoverished may need to prioritise basic survival needs first. Autism intersects with other marginalised identities, exacerbating economic disadvantages.

Alternative dispute resolution like mediation or arbitration is often inaccessible too. These voluntary processes rely heavily on strong communication, social, and negotiation skills that autistic people often lack. The power imbalance and social dynamics can quickly become overwhelming.

Reforms allowing judges to modify limitation periods in cases of clear disability-related delays would significantly expand access to justice. However, even removal of time barriers does not fully address systemic issues marginalising autistic people within the legal system. Continued advocacy, education, and providing appropriate supports and accommodations remains crucial.

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