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Having a child with autism who receives special education in public school is a challenge. It can be more difficult for parents of low income, as is my circumstance. I’ve tried different routes to navigate a very difficult and, at times, confusing system. The myriad of acronyms and policy to be familiar with are overwhelming and it can feel as if you are alone in the process – your family against your school district.
For many in the African American community, especially those who are between poverty and middle class, autism is unfamiliar. We aren’t quite sure what kind of delay that means in our children. Does it mean they are dumb? Does it mean they won’t talk ever in life? Will they be sitting in the corner for decades, fascinated by the shiny object on the ceiling? Will they have friends of their own? Will they be independent?
According to The ARC (advocacy, respect and commitment) of California, the governor has made devastatingly destructive cuts in the support system for people with developmental disabilities and their families. Recently I received a letter from the president of the ARC, Dwight Stratton, stating that our elected legislators decided to ignore the will of the people of the state of California by decimating the Lanterman Act.