We’ve often heard the colloquialism “the squeaky wheel gets the grease,” which is another way of saying that those willing to speak out and voice their discontent or concerns are rarely ignored and often rewarded with the changes they desired. This colloquialism has many applications, but none as apt as for the parents of children on the autism spectrum.
With diagnoses of spectrum disorders such as autism on the rise, it is important for parents and caregivers to take an active hand from the beginning in their child’s education. Federal law mandates that children with autism-spectrum disorders be provided a “free and appropriate public education” just as other students are provided. However, school districts and their personnel often fail to ensure this, or fail to enforce accommodations put in place for autistic students through Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
Even though the law has classically seen schools and teachers as “in loco parentis,” which essentially means they are responsible to act as the authoritative role over children during the school day, parents of autistic children cannot sit back and assume school personnel have their sons and daughters’ best interests in mind at all times. School district budgets everywhere have been subject to decreases and cuts, which forces more and more teachers at these districts to wear many different “hats” throughout the day.