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Calls to Action

Advocacy Can Make All the Difference!

The Family Services team at Autism Speaks interacts with families affected by autism on a daily basis. Lots of families have shared stories, sought help, or asked questions about legal issues. Many families are looking to better understand what they can do to become better advocates for their loved ones with autism.

In response to the questions and concerns we've heard from all of you, this month's Community Connections is dedicated to helping families navigate a "complicated" legal system, and providing them with a road map to empowerment.

Experts Speak: Goodwin Procter LLP

After months of research, a team of lawyers at Goodwin Procter LLP has generously put together lots of legal information and contacts for families affected by autism. The 20 page guide defines terms, explains concepts, and answers frequently asked questions regarding the rights and entitlements of individuals with autism and their families.

Topic Headings Include:

  • Adults with Autism Spectrum
  • Education (IDEA and IEP)
  • Financial Resources
  • Legal Protection and Rights
  • Divorce

Click here to read Goodwin Procter's guide to legal information for families affected by autism.

Click here for a list of the contact information for each state's Protection and Advocacy Agencies.

Experience Speaks: The Everyday Advocate

In The Everyday Advocate: How to Stand Up For Your Autistic Child, award-winning attorney, author, speaker, and television personality Areva Martin shares her hard-won knowledge as a parent of an autistic child and an individual rights attorney. She lays out vital and relevant step-by-step instructions to parents facing the seemingly impossible odds of advocating for a child with autism. Click here to visit Areva's official website.

For this month's Community Connections, we interviewed Areva Martin about her book. Click here to read the interview.


Autism Votes! It's Time for Lawmakers to Listen

Autism Votes is an Autism Speaks initiatiave. It is a comprehensive grassroots advocacy program that helps coordinat activist efforts in support of federal and state legislative initiatives. Autism Votes is dedicated to advocating for the rights and entitlements of individuals with autism and their families.

Visit to learn about these state and federal initiatives, stay informed about autism insurance reform, and find and contact your local legislators so that you, too, can advocate for change!

Special Education and Advocacy

We wrote a Family Services Community Connections piece last year with tips on how best to advocate for your child's education by taking an active role in the process. The page includes a video interview with legal expert and Autism Speaks board member Gary Mayerson: Developing A Great IEP.

Click here to visit the Special Education and Advocacy Community Connections page.

Find A Local Resource!

Visit our Resource Guide to find attorneys and advocates in your area. We welcome new submissions to continually build the Resource Guide. If you know of any additional advocacy resources available, you can submit them here.