Trump’s pick for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, threatens access to public education for all, however, students who have mental illness, autism, or intellectual disability, will suffer the most. Ms. DeVos’ platform to expand voucher programs and give families taxpayer dollars to attend private and religious schools will slowly but surely dismantle the current public education system.
Individuals with autism who end up embroiled in the criminal justice system often find themselves not only brutalized by police because of law enforcement’s failure to recognize and understand autism, but also severely punished if they end up in prison. Some are even re-victimized because of mental health illnesses that result from traumatizing experiences associated with their incarceration. For many, particularly children, the penchant to place incarcerated individuals with autism in solitary confinement—either for their own safety or as punishment for perceived misbehavior—raises concerns under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution and may amount to a breach of the international prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.