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

Posts Tagged ‘ADHD’

School provided FAPE, despite no FBA or parent counseling

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

M.W. v. New York City Department of Education, 61 IDELR 151 (2d Cir. 2013): A federal Court of Appeals upheld the New York State Review Officer’s (SRO) determination that a school district provided a student with autism, ADHD, speech and language disorders, and fine and gross motor deficits, a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  The parent contended that the district’s failure to conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and the IEP’s failure to provide parent counseling and training denied the student a FAPE.

The Court agreed with the SRO that an FBA was not necessary, as the student’s IEP adequately identified his behavioral impediments along with strategies to address those behaviors.  Accordingly, since the IEP adequately addressed the student’s problem behaviors there was no harm in failing to conduct an FBA.  Similarly, the resources available within the student’s proposed school were sufficient to address any deficiency by failing to provide parent counseling and training.  The Court noted that a failure to provide parent counseling and training, in and of itself, is not sufficient to result in a FAPE denial.  Therefore, the school offered the student FAPE.

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Reimbursement denied where student was capable of being educated in general setting with special education aids, services, and accommodations

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

J.C.S. v. Blind Brook-Rye Union Free School District, 61 IDELR 219 (S.D.N.Y. 2013): A federal district court denied a parent’s request for reimbursement for a unilateral placement, confirming the conclusion of the New York State Review Officer (SRO).

The parent sought reimbursement for a private program in which she unilaterally enrolled her son with ADHD and learning disabilities.  Notwithstanding the parent’s placement, the school district’s IEP team met and recommended a program in a general education setting with a wide array of various special education and related services, as well as supplementary aids and services and accommodations.  The parent argued that the volume of aids, services, and accommodations indicated that the general education setting was inappropriate.  However, the strength of the student’s academic skills led the SRO to conclude that the general education setting was appropriate in terms of restrictiveness and therefore the school did not deny the student a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  Accordingly, reimbursement was denied.  The district court agreed, and upheld the SRO’s decision.

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Manifestation review required for child presumed to be disabled due to pattern of behavior

Monday, August 26th, 2013

Anaheim Union High School District v. J.E., 61 IDELR 107 (C.D. Cal. 2013): A federal district court determined that a school district should have conducted a manifestation determination review for a student not classified under the IDEA.  The district had suspended the student and removed him to a community day school following a disciplinary incident.

The student had ADHD and anxiety, and manifested several behavioral issues in school (including irritability, agitation, and panic attacks).  The school was aware of these issues, and identified the student as a student with a disability pursuant to Section 504 (but not IDEA).  Nevertheless, the Court found that the school should have conducted a manifestation determination review.  The child was presumed to be disabled under the IDEA (and entitled to its protections) because the school had a basis of knowledge to believe the student’s pattern of behavior related to his disability.  Significantly, the court determined that a “pattern of behavior” giving rise to a presumption of disability should not be limited to previous disciplinary issues.

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School’s failure to address bullying permits suit for damages

Monday, August 12th, 2013

M.J.  v. Marion Independent School District, 61 IDELR 76 (W.D. Tex. 2013): A federal district court allowed the parents of a student with bipolar disorder and ADHD to seek damages from a school district which failed to adequately address disability-based bullying.  The court concluded that, under Section 504, a school may be liable for failing to remedy disability-based peer-on-peer harassment.  Accordingly, the suit was permitted to proceed to resolve a genuine dispute as to whether the school acted with deliberate indifference or gross misjudgment when the student notified it of instances of harassment.

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Failure to conduct proper FBA and develop a BIP preclude school district from recommending more restrictive placement

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Doe v. Regional School Unit No. 21, 60 IDELR 228 (D. Me. 2012):  A federal district court upheld an impartial hearing officer’s determination that a school district’s recommendation to place a student with ADHD, anxiety disorder, low average cognitive ability, global developmental delay, mixed expressive and receptive language disorder, phonological disorder, and fine and gross motor delays, in a more restrictive environment without first conducting a proper functional behavioral assessment (FBA) and developing an appropriate behavior intervention plan (BIP).

The school district believed the student, whose behavior significantly interfered with his learning as well as that of others, needed a more restrictive setting, but the student’s parent insisted on a mainstream setting.  To address the student’s behaviors, a special education teacher and school psychologist discussed a behavioral plan, but no formal FBA was conducted and the informal behavioral plan was never shared with the IEP team.  The hearing officer (IHO) deemed this improper, and ordered the school to conduct a full FBA by a board certified behavioral analyst and develop a BIP.  The IHO also envisioned that, after the BIP had been implemented enough to provide sufficient data, if the student failed to make adequate behavioral progress, only then could the school appropriately recommend a more restrictive setting.

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Student not entitled to Section 504 services in private schools

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

D.L. v. Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners, 60 IDELR 121 (4th Cir. 2013):  A federal appeals court held that, absent a state law permitting dual enrollment in both a private and public school, a student enrolled in a private religious school (based on parent preference) is not entitled to receive Section 504 services.  The student, diagnosed with ADHD (and having difficulties with attentiveness, focus, and hyperactivity), did not qualify for an IEP under the IDEA, but the school district determined he did qualify for services under Section 504.

The school district conditioned its provision of such Section 504 services on the student’s enrollment in the public school system.  His parents, however, elected to enroll him in a private religious school.  The Court held that, the district was not obligated to provide services in the private school.  The Court relied on a prior letter from the federal Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) finding that, if a district offers an appropriate education, that district is not responsible for the provision of educational services to students who are not enrolled in the public education program “based on the personal choice of the parent or guardian.”  Since Maryland, unlike some other states, did not permit dual enrollment, its public schools had no obligation to provide Section 504 services to students in private schools.

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Student’s progress and expanded IEP demonstrate appropriateness, denying parent reimbursement for unilateral private placement

Monday, June 10th, 2013

McCallion v. Mamaroneck Union Free School District, 60 IDELR 162 (S.D.N.Y. 2013):  A federal district court denied a parent’s request for tuition reimbursement where the student demonstrated progress under his prior IEPs, and the school district worked with the parents to respond to their concerns regarding his program.  Concerned about his ability to make progress in high school based on the programming the school district offered, the parents ultimately enrolled the student (diagnosed with a specific learning disability, as well as ADHD, anxiety and an adjustment disorder) in a private school designed for students with his needs.

Notwithstanding the parents’ unilateral placement, they still participated in an IEP team meeting which resulted in an amended IEP in October of that school year.  Also, the student received passing marks, and progressed from grade to grade prior to the school year in which he was enrolled in the private school.  Since the October IEP incorporated several additional recommendations and accommodations with respect to reading (one of the student’s biggest areas of need), the district offered the student a free appropriate public education and the parents were therefore not entitled to reimbursement.

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District cannot refer a student to RTI process in lieu of commencing a requested evaluation.

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Broward County (FL) School District, 59 IDELR 143 (OCR 2012):  The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) found that a school district violated Section 504 by failing to conduct an evaluation regarding a student with academic and behavioral difficulties stemming from his ADHD.

The student’s parent requested that the student be evaluated due to the manifestation of certain academic and behavioral difficulties for the student.  However, the district failed to proceed with the evaluation, instead referring the student to the response to intervention (RTI) process.  By implementing the RTI process, instead of proceeding with the requested evaluation, the district improperly delayed the student’s evaluation (which eventually commenced three months later).

Also, OCR found that the team that met to discuss the student’s 504 accommodations was not properly constituted.  The alleged 504 Team only consisted of the district’s 504 liaison, and the student’s parents, rather than a “group of persons knowledgeable about the student, the evaluation data, and the placement options.”  Accordingly, OCR concluded the district failed to comply with Section 504.

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District’s failure to provide transportation to a student with autism denies FAPE.

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

In re Student With a Disability, 59 IDELR 180 (NY SRO 2012):  The New York State Education Department’s State Review Officer (SRO) affirmed an impartial hearing officer’s (IHO) determination that a student with autism required transportation as a related service.  There was no dispute that the student’s autism, ADHD, language disorder, and asthma, resulted in his inability to walk to school safely.  Specifically, the parent noted the student had an “underdeveloped sense of danger and boundaries which required constant redirection to maintain his focus.”  However, the district denied the request for door-to-door transportation, since the student did not have any “ambulatory” or “mobility” impairments.  The SRO rejected such bases, noting that there is no prerequisite that a student have an ambulatory impairment in order to qualify for specialized transportation.  Accordingly, the district was required to provide transportation (although the SRO expressed no opinion as to the appropriate mode of transportation).

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Failure to include behavioral goals denies student FAPE.

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Coventry Public Schools v. W.J., 59 IDELR 277 (D.R.I. 2012):  A federal district court found in favor of parents of a student with significant behavioral needs as a result of his ADHD and oppositional defiance disorder (ODD).  The student’s behavioral needs “consistently” impeded his academic progress.  Despite these significant needs, his IEP failed to include any behavioral goals and modifications.  The court concluded such failure rendered the student’s IEP inappropriate, noting “not having clear and defined behavioral goals and modifications in the IEP is tantamount to denying him any education at all.”  Accordingly, in light of the appropriateness of the unilateral placement in which the parents placed the student, the court ordered the school district to reimburse the parents.

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