Autism Speaks held an Autism Law Summit in DC the other day.

And they didn’t invite ME, the world’s greatest autistic attorney???? I am SHOCKED.

Autistic Hoya, though, has a good post on important aspects of “Autism Law” that didn’t get covered.

Although I do believe that mental health/DD parity in health insurance coverage is extremely important, focusing exclusively on coverage of a particular type of therapy – and particularly one that’s denounced by so many autistic individuals who have grown to adulthood – is short-sighted. Even if Applied Behavioral Analysis helps some people, it’s not the only thing that helps (Floortime, for one), and the odds are quite high that any “state of the art” intervention will at some later point be shoved aside in favor of something else. 

Laws take forever to pass and even longer to change or repeal; they need to be designed to stay reasonable even when other circumstances have changed. The types of laws on which Autistic Hoya focuses (and on which I focus) – antidiscrimination laws – are pretty good at this. What counts as a reasonable accommodation under the ADA, or a free and appropriate publication under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, is open to reinterpretation and change as technologies and best practices evolve. The original version of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – the Education for All Handicapped Children Act – was enacted in 1975, long before the average school even had anything that could fairly be called a computer. Now, schools might be required to allow a child to use an iPad as a form of assistive communication.

I could go on, but I don’t want to spoil the amazing talk that I’m going to give at the next Autism Law Summit. To which I will assuredly be invited. 

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Autism Speaks held an Autism Law Summit in DC the other day.

  1. Seems to me, that challenging the very cross eyed legal loopholes that allow services to not be delivered to the autistic, especially here in the District, need to start from the top. Federal. We got people like Project Action! who say, “well, autistic don’t have strong advocates” & you have University Legal Services saying things like “autistic s are less than 10% of the population, you want to get services the best way you can. I think we need to both, apprise ourselves of the law & why it looks the way it does, for instance here in the District, it is the way it is because of 2-137, written by Vincent Gray. It legally allows the District to not provide services for that autistic population

  2. CC

    I was directed here by someone on the Livejournal asperger’s group … I’m disappointed to hear that you support Autism $peaks, but otherwise I’m very glad to have found this blog. I graduated from law school and want very much to work in immigration, but have been inundated with people telling me I won’t be able to hack it. You’ve at least shown me that this profession is not out of bounds for me.

    • Twitchy Woman

      Hi! I don’t actually support Autism Speaks – I highly doubt they’d ever invite me to their Autism Law Summit, so my comment about being invited to their next summit was a joke. As you probably know, they don’t usually invite autistic professionals to speak at their events, especially not ones with my political leanings.

      But as for hacking it as an attorney, I’m sorry you’re getting so many people telling you you can’t hack it. I won’t lie, this profession is NOT very autism-friendly; part of the reason I’ve been posting rather sparsely lately is because I’ve been running into barriers and am not quite ready to address them publicly. But it’s not out of bounds by any means. I’ve run into a lot of fellow attorneys who are autistic or have neurological or psychosocial disabilities.

      Have you joined National Association of Law Students with Disabilities? Even for recent graduates it’s a really good group to go to for support and tips when you’re facing down doubters.

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