Archived | Autism Speaks Files Amicus Brief With U.S. Supreme Court in Tom F. Case | Circa July 2007 #NotAnAutisticAlly

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

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

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. 

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. 

Please click here to download the application form (PDF). Send the completed application form along with copies of any appeal filings to: 

Autism Speaks
Attn: Andrea Shapiro
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.


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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