chapter  Letter 20
Queer Parents, Autism, and Learning Disabilities
WithTara Goldstein, benjamin lee hicks, Jenny Salisbury, Pam Baer
Pages 7

This chapter discusses what Two-Spirit parents Evan Smith and Jess Swance-Smith have to say about their experiences of looking for cultural and learning support for their children at school. Evan and Jess’s daughter goes to First Nations School. When Evan and Jess’s son was ready to start school, Evan enrolled him in First Nations School, just like his sister. However, because their son lives with autism, they needed to transfer him to a neighbourhood non-Indigenous school. Evan attributes the conflicts their family had with the school in the early 2000s to the school’s deficit ideas about lesbian teen moms. While Evan and their partner fought to get their daughter assessed for a learning disability, they weren’t able to get the services they needed and their daughter dropped out of school in Grade 8. Jeff and Nicole presents a list of the kind of practices that work towards creating equitable relationships between schools and families.