Skip navigation

Calls to Action

Autism Speaks Files Amicus Brief With U.S. Supreme Court in

Tom F.
July 19, 2007

Autism Speaks, through its Federal Legal Appeals Project (FLAP), has filed an amicus brief before the United States Supreme Court in the Tom F. case.

The issue under consideration by the high Court concerns a parent's statutory right to challenge a school district's Individualized Education Plan (“IEP”). According to the New York City Department of Education, even if the child's IEP is demonstrably inappropriate, a parent should not have standing to challenge their child's IEP unless the parent has first “tried out” the school district's IEP.

The amicus brief filed by Autism Speaks focuses on the critical nature of early intervention for children with autism, and accordingly, explains why parents of children with autism should not be forced to “try out” demonstrably inappropriate and ineffective IEP programs during what may well be a relatively narrow window of opportunity.

On the very same day that Autism Speaks filed its amicus brief, the U.S. Justice Department filed its own amicus brief. Significantly, the Justice Department's brief similarly supports the right of a parent to challenge a demonstrably inappropriate IEP without having to first try out that IEP.

The Autism Speaks Federal Legal Appeals Project
is a national pro bono initiative assembled and directed by Autism Speaks board member and leading autism attorney Gary Mayerson. To date, approximately ten national profile law firms, including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, have joined the FLAP committee with commitments to provide significant pro bono legal services at the federal level. Our thanks to Akin Gump attorneys Robert H. Pees, Michael D. Lockard, Amanda R. Johnson, Sunish Gulati and Evandro C. Gigante for their exceptional work on this amicus brief.