Accommodating less visible disabilities in our courtrooms

In today’s Governor’s Council hearing for a nominee to the Family Court, an important issue came up, which is one I’m always very mindful of: Courtroom approaches to handling mental differences, particularly for people on the autism spectrum. As I note on my campaign website, “We must also guarantee that our courts themselves are accessible and accommodating to all varieties of disabilities, including physical and mental challenges that may or may not be visible.”

There’s still a long way to go on accommodating physical disabilities that are plainly visible, but their visibility has also contributed to progress on that front. We haven’t had as much progress on less visible things. It’s critical that our judges exercise flexibility, restraint, and understanding in dealing with adults and children with autism in the courtroom. “Unusual” or “disruptive” behavior isn’t always disrespectful, and sometimes judges need to work around it, rather than trying to control it. Courtrooms are very stressful environments for everyone, but they can definitely be overwhelming to people who aren’t neurotypical (especially for children), and it’s important to make provisions for that.

April 14, 2014 – Arsenal For Democracy 80

Description | Topics: Hobby Lobby contraception case, Catalonia and European nationalism in the 21st century, autism awareness month. People: Bill, Sasha, Persephone, and guest Monika Brooks.

AFD 80

(Nate and Greg are off this week.)

To get one file for the whole episode, we recommend using one of the subscribe links at the bottom of the post.

Related links

Think Progress: “If Hobby Lobby Wins, It Will Be Even Worse For Birth Control Access Than You Think”
Think Progress: “Justice Kennedy Thinks Hobby Lobby Is An Abortion Case — That’s Bad News For Birth Control”
Think Progress: “A Hobby Lobby Win Would Put Birth Control Coverage In Jeopardy At 71 Other Companies”
TIME: “Catalonia Independence Referendum Ruled Unconstitutional”
AFD: “Mocha Autism Network: Autism Awareness Month”

Mocha Autism Network
Twitter: @MochaAutismNTWK
Instagram: @mochaautismntwk
Google Plus: +Mocha Autism Network


RSS Feed: Arsenal for Democracy Feedburner
iTunes Store Link: “Arsenal for Democracy by Bill Humphrey”

And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video blog of our announcer, Justin.

Mocha Autism Network: Autism Awareness Month

If, like me, you don’t support the “mainstream” groups involved in autism activism (some of them are incredibly problematic and damaging for reasons I’m sure I’ll discuss at another time), consider supporting alternative groups such as the Mocha Autism Network this month. They’re dedicated to presenting a different and more inclusive perspective. Below are some starter facts from their Facebook page:



  • 1 in 68 children are currently diagnosed on the #autism spectrum.
  • By gender, it is broken down as 1 in 42 boys, 1 in 189 girls.
  • Black/Latino boys are diagnosed as late as 2.5 years later than White boys.
  • Girls (all ethnicities) are diagnosed the latest.
  • In California, only 10% of pediatricians are equipped to provide Autism assessments in Spanish.

Join us in April as we provide the resources and information you can share to educate our communities


Resources to get involved

Mocha Autism Network
Twitter: @MochaAutismNTWK
Instagram: @mochaautismntwk
Google Plus: +Mocha Autism Network