South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), a 2020 presidential contender, spoke of the need for educators who understand the nature of autism in an interview Tuesday with the progressive organization Supermajority, adding that increased diagnoses are due to people coming “out of the shadows.”
Responding to a question from the mother of an autistic student, Buttigieg said “IEPs [individualized education plans] need to be adapted to support children with autism. Also more broadly, the federal law that creates opportunities for children with different abilities needs to be fully funded. It hasn’t been.”
“We need to make sure that educators and administrators are trained in how to support kids with autism because it’s way more kids than you would think, and we’re learning about this as time goes on [and] more diagnoses happen and more parents and kids come out of the shadows,” the South Bend mayor added.
“There are so many contributions that ... kids and adults with autism can make, but we’ve got to unlock their potential too,” he added, noting his husband Chasten’s experience teaching theater to autistic students, which he said shows him “just what is possible if you have teachers equipped with the right insight and expertise.”