Landmark Supreme Court Ruling in Favor of Special Ed Student!

“The Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of A Special Education Student

U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the unanimous opinion in today’s ruling.

(Andrew Harnik/AP)

School districts must provide students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, “appropriately ambitious” progress, the Supreme Court said today in an 8-0 ruling.  (Emphasis added.)

The decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District could have far-reaching implications for the 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States.

The case centered on a child with autism and attention deficit disorder whose parents removed him from public school in fifth grade. He went on to make better progress in a private school. His parents argued that the individualized education plan, or IEP, provided by the public school was inadequate, and they sued to compel the school district to pay his private school tuition.

The Supreme Court today sided with the family, overturning a lower court ruling in the school district’s favor.

The federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, guarantees a “Free Appropriate Public Education,” or FAPE, to all students with disabilities. Today’s opinion held that “appropriate” goes farther than what the lower courts held.

“It cannot be right that the IDEA generally contemplates grade-level advancement for children with disabilities who are fully integrated in the regular classroom, but is satisfied with barely more than de minimis progress for children who are not,” read the opinion, signed by Chief Justice John Roberts.

The case drew a dozen friend-of-the-court briefs from advocates for students with disabilities who argued that it is time to increase rigor, expectations and accommodations for all.

“A standard more meaningful than just above trivial is the norm today,” wrote the National Association of State Directors of Special Education.

The ruling seems likely to increase pressure from families and advocates in that direction.

Significantly, Judge Neil Gorsuch, currently in confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court’s vacant ninth seat, has repeatedly ruled the other way on similar cases.

Gorsuch’s opinions in eight out of ten cases involving students of disabilities all tended toward limiting the responsibilities of school districts — for example, if they leave school of their own accord out of frustration. IDEA’s standard of a “free appropriate public education,” reads Gorsuch’s opinion in one of these cases, “is not an onerous one.”

When questioned on his record, in light of this new ruling, during his hearing today by Texas Sen. John Cornyn, he said “I was wrong, Senator, because I was bound by circuit precedent, and I’m sorry.”

Eden Autism – Princeton Lecture Series, April 6th & April 7th, 2017.

If you are using a Purchase Order and/or Paying by Check,

click here for a downloadable form.


THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 2017 | 9 AM – 3 PM


$75 – Parent & Professional Rate
$30 – Student Rate (Student ID Required)


Eden Autism Merwick Campus
2 Merwick Road Princeton, NJ 08540
(Registration will open at 8:30 am with a continental breakfast)Certificate of Attendance, (5) Professional Development Hours and (5) BACB Type 2 CEU credits will be issued by Eden Outreach.

MARY JANE WEISS, PhD, BCBA-D, Professor,  will present
“Comprehensive ABA Programming for Individuals with Autism: Utilizing the Full Range of Effective Teaching Strategies”


FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 2017 | 9 AM – 4 PM


$90 – Parent & Professional Rate
$30 – Student Rate (Student ID Required)


The Munich RE Conference Center
665 College Road East, Princeton, NJ 08543
(Registration will open at 8:30 am with a continental breakfast)

Certificate of attendance
, (5) Professional Development Hours and (1.5) BACB Type 2 CEU credits will be issued by Eden Outreach.

Featuring presentations by:

CRAIG NEWSCHAFFER, PhD,  Drexel University
“Does the Environment Contribute to Causing ASD?
What We Know and What it Means for Science and Families”

MARY JANE WEISS, PhD, BCBA-D,  Endicott College
“Teaching Meaningful Skills Across the Lifespan: Ensuring that Individuals
with Autism Achieve Outcomes that Matter”

ALESSIO FASANO, MD,  Mass General Hospital for Children
“Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Paradigm of What Can Go Wrong in the
Gut-Brain Cross Talk”

Special Guest:

Professor, Comedian and Individual with Autism


Thursday and Friday Package – $130 Parent & Professional Rate
Thursday and Friday Package – $50 Student Rate (Student ID Required)


Friday Day Two – Directions and Map

For more information, email or call (609) 987-0099 ext. 3512. Downloadable brochure available soon.

The 2017 Princeton Lecture Series is supported by the Asch Foundation for Funding Education and Research in Autism

What people are saying about Eden’s Princeton Lecture Series…

“The Princeton Lecture Series is not to be missed! As a mom to a nonverbal ASD 5yr old, I look forward to it each year. I’m always encouraging my son’s therapists to attend with me as well, knowing how impressed they’d be by the speakers and the information shared that day…it’s an enlightening experience to anyone wanting to learn more about living with autism. Each year I’ve walked out of that Princeton lecture hall feeling empowered by the information and motivated by everyone I met, sending me home to my son feeling as if I’m that much more learned to understanding his autism…just another piece to his puzzle.”

Eden mom

“This is the only workshop I make sure I attend every year. I have been coming for the past six years or so and Eden always does a fantastic job.  Even though sometimes the topics are heavily based in medical research, the speakers know they are not talking to a room full of doctors.”

Autism Specialist, Newark Public Schools

The Joys & Values of SPAN/START and Sharing Ideas With Other SEPAC Groups.

It was a great pleasure to attend the START Project & SPAN of NJ’s Essex County Roundtable last night. This very informative and useful exchange of ideas for SEPAC Organizations was led by

SPAN/START Leader Myriam Alizo.Picture of Myriam Alizo

Ms. Alizo is a fiercely dedicated Advocate for Special Education  in New Jersey and throughout the nation. Her presentation was very inspiring and informative, as always. If you have yet to hear Ms. Alizo speak, please be sure to attend one of her presentations soon. You will be very glad that you did.

Thanks also to Ms. Michele Tyler of SPAN/START, Cecilia Raubertas

who spoke about the issue of Disproportion-ality facing some school districts. 

Another highlight for me was having the opportunity to meet the very helpful and dedicated members of various Special Ed Parents groups throughout Essex County, including wonderful folks from NEWARK, SOUTH ORANGE/MAPLEWOOD, WEST ORANGE, LIVINGSTON as well as the Special Ed Supervisor from ROSELAND and the Coordinator of Special Services/LDTC from ESSEX FELLS.

It was a great night and one filled with ideas for improving our Bloomfield SEPAC!