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Posts Tagged ‘assistive technology’

Withdrawal of IDEA consent does not automatically withdraw 504 consent

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

D.F. v. Leon County School Board, 62 IDELR 167 (N.D. Fla. 2014): A federal district court permitted a suit by the parent of a student with a hearing impairment to continue, notwithstanding the parent’s withdrawal of consent for services in accordance with the IDEA.  The school district argued that the parent’s withdrawal of consent applied not only to IDEA services, but also any services which would be required under Section 504 or the ADA.  The court, however, held that the parent’s 504 and ADA claims could proceed since, as part of her withdrawal of consent, she requested services (such as technology to assist the student in the classroom) in accordance with Section 504.  The court noted that a parent’s refusal to consent to a more comprehensive IEP does not necessarily authorize a school “to refuse to provide technology to help a student hear in other classes.”

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Regulations properly excluded cochlear implant mapping as a related service under the IDEA.

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

Petit v. U.S. Department of Education, 58 IDELR 241 (D.C. Cir. 2012):  A U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a district court’s determination that the regulations adopted pursuant to the reauthorization of the IDEA in 2004 validly excluded cochlear implant mapping as a “related service” under the IDEA.

Cochlear implant mapping was specifically excluded as an assistive technology service after the reauthorization, but parents of students with cochlear implants sought to overturn the regulation’s exclusion.  The parents argued that mapping was a valid “related service” under the auspices of “audiology services.”  The Court found, however, that the term “audiology services,” as listed in the IDEA, does not unambiguously include mapping.  Therefore, excluding mapping of a cochlear implant as a related service was a valid interpretation of the IDEA and the regulation was upheld.

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District’s requirement that parent agree to responsibility for damage to assistive technology used at home did not deny FAPE.

Friday, November 18th, 2011

R.P. v. Alamo Heights Independent School District, 57 IDELR 64 (W.D. Tex. 2011): A U.S. District Court determined that a school district did not deny a student with mental retardation and a speech impairment a free appropriate public education by requiring the student’s parent to agree to bear financial responsibility for any damage to the student’s assistive technology device that occurred at home.

The student used a Dynavox to assist with her communication, and her father requested that she be allowed to take it home with her. The district agreed, but only after requiring her father to sign an agreement that he would be responsible if it were damaged beyond normal wear and tear. The Court determined that since the device was provided, the student was not denied FAPE and rejected the parent’s argument that the district must provide the device without any limitations.

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Student’s ability to perform tasks without her prosthetic arm absolved school district from providing it as an assistive technology device

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

J.C. v. New Fairfield Board of Education, 56 IDELR 207 (D. Conn. 2011): Affirming the hearing officer’s decision, the court determined that the school district was not required to provide the student, who was born with a congenital condition whereby she had no left forearm, wrist or hand, with a prosthetic arm as an assistive technology device.  The court concluded that the prosthetic constituted a medical device, and thus excluded from the definition of “assistive technology.”  In any event, the evidence demonstrated that the student could perform fundamental tasks with essentially the same effectiveness with or without the prosthetic arm.  Consequently, regardless of whether the prosthetic arm was excluded from the definition of “assistive technology,” the device was not required in order to provide the student with a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

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Student’s progress of one grade level over the course of an academic year was sufficient educational benefit, although she remained well below grade level overall.

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

High v. Exeter Township School District, 54 IDELR 17 (E.D. Pa. 2010):  A U.S. District Court determined a program developed by a high school provided a FAPE to a student with significant reading delays.  The school district’s program helped the student to move from a fifth grade reading level to a sixth grade reading level during her eleventh grade academic year.  The Court said that her parents “could not have reasonably expected the District to close a six-year gap in her reading ability in one year.”  Since “the parents of a child without a learning disability could expect no more” than one year’s worth of progress, the student’s progress demonstrated that her IEP provided a meaningful educational benefit.

Although the parents admitted that the student’s progress was more than trivial, they argued that the IEP was still deficient because the school district did not develop a sufficient transition plan, and did not provide an extended school year or assistive technology.  Namely, the parents argued that since the student wanted to attend college, she would not have the skills necessary to achieve that transition goal.  However, the Court rejected that argument, and determined that the student had been provided with a sufficient transition plan.  The Court focused on the significant support the school provided the student (including multiple meetings with a transition counselor, assistance with applying for the PSAT and SAT tests (including seeking accommodations for both), and arranging for job shadowing opportunities).  The Court further determined that, the student did not demonstrate a need for assistive technology, and, in light of the student’s progress, an extended school year was not necessary.  Therefore, the Court found that the school district provided the student a FAPE.

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