Families whose children with autism spectrum disorders spend less than 20 percent of their time in mainstream classrooms are nearly twice as likely to resort to litigation, such as filing for due process hearings or mediation, when they disagree with school officials about their children’s education, according to a recent survey of parents.
The Web survey, which gathered responses from more than 500 parents in 47 states and Washington, D.C., examined characteristics of children with ASD, their families and family-school relationships to identify factors that might predict parents’ utilization of procedural safeguards to protect their and their children’s rights.
More than 26 percent of parents who participated in the survey reported they had filed for mediation or due process hearings, two procedural safeguards that are available to them under the Americans with Disabilities Education Act.
However, families with incomes above $100,000 were significantly more likely to take legal recourse compared with families who earned half as much, a disparity that special education researcher Meghan M. Burke of the University of Illinois called “very worrisome.”
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