Thursday, April 2, 2015

Autism Awareness

Today is World Autism Awareness Day (see the UN General Assembly resolution and President Obama's proclamation) and April is National Autism Awareness Month.

For an essay criticizing the rhetoric of "celebrating" autism, see this essay on the Washington Post website by the mother of three adult daughters with autism.

Prof. Steve Calandrillo
To sample some of the legal issues, visit SSRN and search for "autism." When I did, the top article (in a ranking by number of downloads) was by UW Law's Prof. Steve CalandrilloVanishing Vaccinations: Why Are So Many Americans Opting Out of Vaccinating their Children?, 37 U. Mich. J. L. Reform 353 (2004). (It's been downloaded 1336 times.) Other papers address special education, criminal law, bullying, trial practice (children with autism as witnesses), and more.

Last year, the Autism CARES Act tweaked autism-related provisions of the Public Health Service Act. (The full title is a mouthful: Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support Act of 2014, Pub. L. 113-157, 128 Stat. 1831.) Because autism issues are within the domains of different agencies (e.g., Health and Human Services and Education), the federal government has an Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Among other thing, the committee provides a range of publications. For less technical, more accessible information, see HHS's Autism Information page.

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