There are a number of issues on which a number of autistic people and parents of autistic people take an active role. Naturally, there are those who feel strongly about a particular hypothesized cause or a particular treatment or educational method. On such issues, one will find advocates on various sides of the issue. However, there are other more general issues, on some of which there is more of a consensus. This section will list some of the issues & positions that autistic people and parents of autistic people are active in. Some of the issues are specific to autism, but many are relevant to other disabilities.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and other laws that protect the disabled come up for renewal and/or are reviewed with an eye toward amendment on occasion. Many disabled people and parents of disabled people watch such proceedings closely and make their opinions known to their representatives.
Improving and even maintaining quality of education of the disabled is a continuing struggle even with federal and state laws. Since education in the USA remains largely under local control, many parents of the disabled find themselves acting as their own advocates to make sure the laws are upheld given the tendency of some localities to make decisions based on the idea that the expense of educating the disabled is more than they can handle.
One of the trends in educating the disabled for the past few decades has been to include them in classrooms of typical students. Many parents and disabled people have this as a goal.
Despite the fact that many of the general public find autism of some fascination, a good case can be made that private and government funding accorded research into autism is much less than that of some diseases and conditions that are rare relative to autism.
See section "History" about how parents used to be blamed for Autism. It was not that long ago that that was happening and people without knowledge of autism as it's currently preceived may well run across material from those times. The activism necessary to counter such thinking is thankfully much reduced by those who worked hard on the issue in the 1960s.
The general trend in the housing of the disabled who cannot live independently has been away from the idea of large institutions toward the idea of group homes located in the community. Among the reasons cited:
There are on occasion drives to allow a group home in a neighborhood. If the neighborhood has never had one, people are naturally suspicious and unsure of what to expect. On many occasions, after the fact, neighbors of group homes have been willing to testify to the positives of having a group home in the neighborhood.
I haven't mentioned other living options aside from group homes: many disabled live independently, and many live with only a minimum of assistance. The real issue being pressed goes beyond group homes: it encompasses the provision of appropriate housing and related services for all the disabled.