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1. the ability to function in an independent fashion.
2. in bioethics, self-determination that is free from both controlling interferences by others and personal limitations preventing meaningful choice (such as inadequate understanding or faulty reasoning). Having the capacity to act with autonomy does not guarantee that a person will actually do so with full understanding and without external controlling influences. adj., adj auton´omous.


The condition or state of being autonomous, able to make decisions unaided by others.
[auto- + G. nomos, law]


/au·ton·o·my/ (aw-ton´ah-me) the state of functioning independently, without extraneous influence.auton´omous


Etymology: Gk, autos + nomos, law
the quality of having the ability or tendency to function independently. autonomous, adj.


An individual’s right to self-determination.
The ability of an individual to exercise his or her rights, have choices respected, remain independent and be involved in his or her own care decisions.

Ethical principle of individual self-determination.
Vox populi
The personal capacity to consider alternatives, make choices and act without undue influence or interference from others.


Vox populi Personal capacity to consider alternatives, make choices, and act without undue influence or interference of others. See Functional autonomy, Physician autonomy.


nursing A patient's personal independence; of being self-governing.
[auto- + G. nomos, law]

autonomy (·tˑ·n·mē),

n a principle of medical ethics according to which a person should respect the rights of other individuals to freely determine their own choices and decisions.


Condition or state of being autonomous, able to make decisions unaided by others.
[auto- + G. nomos, law]

Patient discussion about autonomy

Q. In the future will he with ASD ever be able to live independently? I have a friend who is staying as a paying guest and is being taken care of by all our family members. In the future will he with ASD ever be able to live independently?

A. I am very much moved by your deeds.

• Many people with autism do flourish and go on to hold responsible jobs and live independently. Others have the intellectual abilities to be employed but are held back by their inability to adapt socially to the stresses of everyday life.

• The focus of every intervention program for the person with autism should be to work on helping them adapt to living in society. Their quality of life and ability to function is far more important than how they do on an I.Q. test.

Q. Where should i go when i feel down and lonely? is there like an independence way to lift my spirit?

A. I spend a lot of time in "my room". It has a window to look out and a comfortable chair to sit and think in. I can shut the door to get real quiet. I can read and study things. Reading gets my mind off of down feelings. There is also a time for going out walking. It frees my mind. When I come back I seem to have a new perspective on things. Sometimes I go and sit out in the woods for awhile where I live. I like listening to the birds and nature sounds. Its nice to see clouds going by in the sky or the stars at night. If something's really bothering you, call on someone you can trust and talk it out. Just find that activity that suits you best and get busy at it.

Q. I am wondering if there is any chance that a child with autism could lead an independent life later. My elder daughter was diagnosed with autism and I look out for information on raising a child with autism. I am wondering if there is any chance that a child with autism could lead an independent life later. I need help.

A. Hi there. Mellou here. I have a 19 yr old son that has autism. Yes I believe that children can be taught to live a independant life. My son attends a Independant Living Center to learn how to be self sufficiate and so far he is learning alot. It is just taking awhile for him to get at it and do it.
Hope this helps you hon. Good luck

More discussions about autonomy
References in periodicals archive ?
Ruger and Sorens (2009) then proceed to develop a number of freedom indices, including an elaborate index of overall economic freedom and a separate elaborate index of overall personal freedom.
Our analysis reveals that foreign immigrants who do enter the United States seek work in the emerging knowledge economy, and they desire high levels of personal freedom.
Despite its massive petroleum wealth, Saudi Arabia's overall rank (81st) suffers from very poor performances in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (81st), Democratic Institutions (101st), and Personal Freedom (98th).
One glimmer of hope here is that, as the War on Terror follows down the same domestic path as the War on Drugs, any new, deal-killing restrictions on personal freedom can clearly be seen to have their roots in the drug war.
But two passions--abortion, and to a lesser extent, adoption--have caused problems, raising thorny legal questions about where personal freedom of expression ends and state endorsement of religion and other controversial beliefs begin.
The West," she said, "enjoys a level of personal freedom.
They are going to determine their reproductive lives as they wish; this is the essence of dignity and personal freedom.
These groups oppose virtually any effort to hold corporations accountable--and usually in the name of personal freedom, a seductive "false flag" for what is really corporate freedom.
What degree of political and personal freedom existed in China after 1989?
When we understand Wheatley's poetic career as falling first into an apprenticeship, then into a distinctively internal aesthetic quest for personal freedom, the first period of her maturity, and finally into a second period of maturity--a public phase no less demanding of her considerable talents but no longer requiring the subversive mode--we as readers of this sophisticated artist become enabled to read her work with more surefootedness.
The star said recently: "It wasn't until I bought her a house that I realised you cannot buy people their personal freedom.
Still, the aspect of personal freedom and self-determination was not what lay at the heart of the debate about life in a convent or in marriage.

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