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

Posts Tagged ‘ABA’

School district required to provide in-home services as part of stay-put

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

M.G. v. New York City Department of Education, 61 IDELR 220 (S.D.N.Y. 2013): A U.S. District Court ordered a school district to continue providing in-home applied behavioral analysis (ABA) services during the pendency of litigation due to the district’s provision of such services during the underlying proceedings.  Although the impartial hearing officer (IHO) denied much of the parents’ requested relief, interim IHO orders directed the district to commence in-home ABA services to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  The parents initiated a state-level appeal, but in the meantime the district indicated it would discontinue the in-home services during the subsequent school year.  The Court, upon the parents’ application, directed the district to continue providing the in-home ABA services as part of the student’s pendency placement.

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School district’s failure to consider which methodology allowed an autistic student to make progress resulted in its failure to offer FAPE.

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Dumont Board of Education v. J.T., 54 IDELR 231 (D.N.J. 2010):  A U.S. District Court (in an unpublished decision), determined that a school district did not provide a free appropriate public education to an autistic student who progressed in a program using the Developmental Individual Relationship/Floortime (DIR) method.  As a result, the parents were granted reimbursement.

The student initially received Applied Behavioral Analysis Discrete Trial (ABA) services as part of her early intervention program, but she resisted that particular method and as a result DIR was added to her program.  The student then began to make noticeable and meaningful progress.

When the student aged out of early intervention and was to receive services as a preschool student with a disability, the school district did not offer a placement that used the DIR method but rather a placement that used the ABA method.  Although the IEP team members present at the student’s IEP meeting agreed the student should receive DIR services, the school district did not make that particular accommodation part of the student’s IEP.  The proposed IEP also did not include a sensory diet, or provide for a behavior plan (only noting that such a plan would be provided “if the need arose”).  As a result, the parent unilaterally placed the student in a program that used the DIR method.

The District Court determined that, in light of the information available to the IEP team indicating that DIR was the most effective method for the student and testimony (at the administrative hearing) that a program that did not incorporate DIR would be inappropriate for the student, the district’s offer of a placement that used ABA and not DIR was inappropriate.  Although the district argued that the case was one over methodology, the Court disagreed, explaining that the issue at hand was whether the district prepared an IEP to meet the student’s unique needs.  Since the student’s unique needs required the DIR method, the district’s failure to address that documented need in the proposed IEP denied FAPE.  Additionally, an IEP simply indicating that a behavior plan will be provided “if the need arose” is not sufficient.  As a result, the parents were entitled to reimbursement.

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