Archived | Autism Speaks Launches Federal Legal Appeal Project | Circa February 13, 2007 #NotAnAutisticAlly

Autism Speaks Launches Federal Legal Appeal Project


A New Initiative to Help Families in Need Fight for Services, While Establishing and Preserving Important Legal Precedent for All

(NEW YORK, NY – February 13, 2007) – Autism Speaks, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of autism and raising money to fund autism research, today announced the establishment of the Autism Speaks Federal Legal Appeal Project and invited families to submit their cases for consideration.

The Federal Legal Appeal Project, organized under the auspices of the Autism Speaks Family Services Committee, will offer free legal support to families whose Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) -based hearings have been decided at the administrative level and appealed to the federal level. 



Every year, hundreds of families of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders file IDEIA cases in order to secure appropriate educational services. While a family might have the financial resources to bring or defend their case, if they lose — or if they prevail and their school district decides to mount an expensive and time-consuming appeal in federal court – they often have no choice but to give up their fight. 

“School districts have the ability to out-spend families in these important legal battles, which not only profoundly affect the lives of individual families, but often establish critical legal precedent that can impact many other families’ futures,” said Gary Mayerson, an Autism Speaks board member and leading special needs attorney who has spearheaded the Federal Legal Appeal Project initiative.

“The goal of the Federal Legal Appeal Project is to level the playing field for the families we assist directly and for all who are fighting for better services for their children.” 

“Autism Speaks recognizes the tremendous financial burden of mounting an effective case at the federal level,” said Bob Wright, co-founder of Autism Speaks. “We want to help ensure that deserving cases with legal merit are properly supported to give them the best possible chance of succeeding.” 

All cases submitted for consideration to the Federal Legal Appeal Project will be reviewed by a screening committee comprised of attorneys representing several law firms, who have generously donated their time to Autism Speaks.

Cases must have reached the federal appeal level to be considered. Other key criteria the committee will take into consideration include: whether the issues involved are legal important and likely to impact the wider autism community; the anticipated consequences of taking or not taking the appeal; and the financial hardship posed on the family to continue the appeal process in the absence of financial or other assistance. 

Interested families may submit information about themselves and their case to Jennifer Parsons at Autism Speaks. 

Autism Speaks
Attn: Jennifer Parsons
2 Park Avenue, 11th floor
New York, NY 10016


The Federal Legal Appeal Project will also provide regular updates on court cases on AutismSpeaks.org. 

ABOUT AUTISM 
Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed in one in 150 children in the United States, affecting four times as many boys as girls. The diagnosis of autism has increased tenfold in the last decade. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called autism a national public health crisis whose cause and cure remain unknown. 

ABOUT AUTISM SPEAKS 
Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of the growing autism epidemic and to raising money to fund scientists who are searching for a cure. It was founded in February 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright. Bob Wright is Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, General Electric, and served as chief executive officer of NBC for more than twenty years. Autism Speaks and Cure Autism Now (CAN) recently combined operations, bringing together the two leading organizations dedicated to accelerating and funding biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for autism spectrum disorders; to increasing awareness of the nation’s fastest growing developmental disorder; and to advocating for the needs of affected families. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.


The “Autism Community” is not the Autistic Community | The Autism Community was created by non-Autistic led organizations and includes mostly parents, professionals and their friends. 
Most of what the world know about Autism is sourced from the non-autistic “Autism Community.”

Federal Legal Appeal Project

The Federal Legal Appeal Project, organized under the auspices of the Autism Speaks Family Services Committee, offers free legal support to families whose Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA)-based hearings have been decided at the administrative level and appealed to the federal level. Families whose cases meet these criteria are invited to submit their cases for consideration. Not all cases will be accepted.

All cases submitted for consideration to the Federal Legal Appeal Project will be reviewed by a screening committee comprised of attorneys representing several law firms, who have generously donated their time to Autism Speaks. Cases must have reached the federal appeal level to be considered. Other key criteria the committee will take into consideration include: whether the issues involved are legal important and likely to impact the wider autism community; the anticipated consequences of taking or not taking the appeal; and the financial hardship posed on the family to continue the appeal process in the absence of financial or other assistance. 

Send the completed application form along with copies of any appeal filings to: 

Autism Speaks
Attn: Nora Marcus
2 Park Avenue, 11th floor 
New York, NY 10016 

Once the screening committee has received your completed paperwork, you should receive a reply indicating if your case has been accepted, within 60 days.



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