Autism case law seems to demonstrate that courts are hesitant to order the government to do something about funding or offer programs for treating autism. There are various tools at the court’s disposal to order funding for things of this nature, but they seem to prefer to defer to the power of the legislative body, which rightfully should deal with such issues.
Over the past number of years, courts have been sending a message that autism advocacy is perhaps better conducted in the legislative realm of state and federal governments. There have been a number of cases where parents have sought legal recourse to claim medical deductions for their autistic children and the courts have denied the claims. While not unsympathetic to the dilemma parents face, the courts have indicated they need to seek legislative review, and not judicial review, to resolve their issues.
There may be a change coming in how cases involving autism are dealt with in the legal arena. A Supreme Court of Canada decision in Auton v. British Columbia (2004), SCC 78, held the province had breached autistic children’s right to equality under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A similar case may well be made in the U.S.