Autism in the US: Social Movement and Legal Change
Boston University School of Law
May 20, 2010
American Journal of Law and Medicine, Vol. 36, 2010
Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 10-07
The social movement surrounding autism in the US has been rightly defined a ray of light in the history of social progress. The movement is inspired by a true understanding of neuro-diversity and is capable of bringing about desirable change in political discourse. At several points along the way, however, the legal reforms prompted by the autism movement have been grafted onto preexisting patterns of inequality in the allocation of welfare, education, and medical services. In a context most recently complicated by economic recession, autism-driven change bears the mark of political contingency and legal fragmentation. Distributively, it yields ambivalent results that have not yet received systemic attention. This article aims to fill this analytical vacuum by offering, first, a synoptic view of the several legal transformations brought about or advocated for by the autism movement and, second, a framework for investigating their distributive consequences.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 88
Keywords: autism, discrimination, health, education, neuro-diversity, culpability, Daubert, disability, vouchers, waivers, special education, social movement, activism
JEL Classification: K30, K39Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 24, 2010 ; Last revised: March 11, 2011
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