Really, you do. I mean, c’mon already. Aren’t you tired of all the complaining? I am.

No, really, I am.

Special needs moms, dads….anyone who is closely connected to the special needs community…we all complain too much.

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And it’s exhausting.

special needs mom complain

Did you know that the laws that are in place to protect people with disabilities….that most of them are complaint-based? They are. Take a look.

Also read: Special Education Laws for all 50 States

Laws that Protect People with Disabilities

Did you even know that all the laws that protect our families are complaint-based?

IDEA- Of course, you’ve all heard of this one, the law that provides our kids with a “free and appropriate education.” {gag} But guess what? Think about it; there’s no oversight. Sure, states have compliance monitoring set up, but that only checks for administrative details (IE, did they give you the IEP meeting invitation 10 days before the meeting?).

It does nothing to check the outcomes of children with disabilities (graduation rates, job placement). It does nothing to check on the quality or effectiveness of programming. IDEA gets tested only when a parent files for Due Process and takes the school to the hearing. Other than that, no system of checks and balances. Complaint based. If a parent doesn’t complain, the status quo remains. Parents are the IEP Police.

ADA-Ah, the Americans with Disabilities Act. Because of this, our country is so much easier to navigate, isn’t it? Except when it’s not. And if it’s not…well, you have to file a complaint. But even then, if the business can show that the changes you are asking for are not “readily achievable,” they are off the hook for making the change.

ADA/504– These two laws are commonly cited when parents file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. That’s right, it’s simple. If your school is not accommodating your disabled child, all you have to do is complain to the Office of Civil Rights.

And hope that they choose to investigate your complaint. They may not. Which then likely will cause you to complain more.

Fair Housing Act– This law says landlords should not discriminate against people with disabilities. It also outlines things that landlords must do to accommodate people. Feel you are being discriminated against? Is your landlord trying to get rid of you because your child has autism?

Ok, then, all you need to do is……yep! You guessed it! File a complaint with HUD. And if you’re lucky, your case will be investigated in under 100 days so that you aren’t homeless.

Insurance– There are all kinds of laws regulating insurance companies. But if you feel you’ve been wronged, you can file a complaint with your state’s office of the Attorney General.

Ok, by now, you’re reading these and saying, “ok, ok, I get it. But why don’t we just vote more to get things changed?”

Fantastic idea! That’s it! Let’s all band together, form large disability voting coalitions, and vote for what we want. It would likely be successful, except that many of our folks might not be able to get to their polls.

National Voter Registration Act and The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 are both, yes, complaint-based. They are designed to protect disabled individuals’ rights to vote but are only enforced when sigh, someone complains about it not being accessible.

Being banned from a plane due to your disability? Then you have to file a complaint with the Department of Transportation.

So if it feels like you’re always complaining. We are. Other than activist groups and things like that, there are no watchdogs for us. We are our own watchdogs. It’s up to us to monitor these systems.

Wrapping it up. Hey, there are no easy answers. In this election season, there are millions of people screaming for less government. So developing a whole level of the system to monitor the existing systems, probably too much to ask. But then again, is it too much to ask someone to just do their job? So that we don’t have to complain as much?

Here you go. Go complain some more!

Moms, you may also want to read:

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