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The GAP Attorneys Blog

Meeting the needs of people with disabilities, their families, educators & service providers

Archive for March, 2012

Transition planning may, in certain instances, combine post-secondary goals for both training and education.

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Questions and Answers on Secondary Transition, 57 IDELR 231 (OSERS 2011):  The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued a Q&A regarding transition planning for students with disabilities.  Specifically, OSERS noted that post-secondary goals are required in each of the following categories: training, education, and employment (goals for “independent living skills” are only required “where appropriate”).

As for the areas of training and education, OSERS observed that certain instances could arise where training and education overlap.  For example, if a student with a disability had a post-secondary goal of becoming a certified teacher, the program in which such a student would enroll would likely incorporate both training and education.  Therefore, depending on the nature of the individual student, training and education may overlap regarding post-secondary goals.

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Sign language generally is a mode of communication, while the specific form of sign language used is a methodology to be chosen by the program.

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

N.T. v. Seattle School District, 57 IDELR 249 (W.D. Wash. 2011):  A U.S. District Court ruled in favor a school district regarding its proposed placement of a deaf student in its deaf and hard of hearing program.  By so ruling, the Court denied the parents of the student reimbursement for their private placement.

Evaluations of the student recommended a placement using a total communication program.  Accordingly, the district proposed placing the student in its deaf and hard of hearing program, which was a total communication program using “all available means to ensure communication between the instructional staff and the students.”  The parents disagreed with the proposed placement, arguing that the student needed a program using signing exact English with simultaneous spoken English and the district’s program inconsistently used the parents’ preferred signing method.

The Court upheld an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) determination that the parents failed to show the district’s program was inappropriate, noting that the student’s mode of communication was sign language generally, and not the specific method of signing the parents sought.  Therefore, the dispute over the form of sign language used in the program amounted to a dispute over methodology and not mode of communication more broadly.  Accordingly, the parents did not meet their burden of demonstrating the proposed district program was inappropriate.  As a result, they were not entitled to reimbursement for their unilateral placement of the student in a private program.

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