Thank you for graciously providing Disability Legal Services of Indiana with a grant of $3000 to provide educational advocacy services to families with children on the Autism Spectrum. DLSI used these funds to provide educational advocacy and legal assistance to 3 families. All of the children lived in homes with annual income below the federal poverty guidelines. These families could not afford a private attorney and were very grateful to DLSI and Autism Advocates of Indiana for the grant money which allowed them to receive assistance from DLSI.
With these funds, DLSI attorneys’ assisted a middle school student with autism transition from a restrictive educational setting back into the general education classroom. This was accomplished through the collaborative efforts of DLSI, the family and school personnel which ensured a smooth transition back into his home school. DLSI also successfully advocated for private placement of a 16 year old with autism who had been out of school for almost 3 years. DLSI worked with both the family and school administrators to place the student at a specialized private school designed to educate children with autism. Finally, DLSI used some of the grant monies to assist a single mother of a child with autism obtain legal guardianship over her son after he turned 18.
DLSI has had a huge increase in requests for educational advocacy services by families of children with Autism. Approximately 55% of all legal hours spent by DLSI in 2012 involved children on the autism spectrum. Thank you for funding some of these needed advocacy hours. It is our hope that we can continue to provide direct services to families with children on the autism spectrum and look forward to collaborating with AAI in the future.
Margaret A. Jones, Esq.