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

Posts Tagged ‘Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)’

Student’s progress at alternative high school negates need for residential placement

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

S.H. v. Eastchester Union Free School District, 58 IDELR 46 (S.D.N.Y. 2011): The parents of a student diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Learning Disorder, Impulse Control Disorder, and Depressive Disorder were denied reimbursement for their child’s unilateral placement at a private residential school.  The Court concluded that school district’s recommended placement at an alternative high school was appropriate since it was substantially similar to the program the student received the year prior (where he made progress).  The fact that the school district’s proposed placement lacked staff specifically trained in Reactive Attachment Disorder did not deny the student a FAPE.  Rather, the proper inquiry is whether the staff is able to implement the IEP, and the Court found that the staff was so able.  In addition, neither the school district’s failure to include staff from the residential school at the IEP meeting, nor the school district’s failure to provide the student with a functional behavioral assessment (FBA), resulted in a denial of FAPE.

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School district’s efforts to prevent disability-based harassment/bullying proved ineffective

Monday, May 7th, 2012

East Rutherford (NJ) School District, 58 IDELR 54 (OCR 2011): The Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) investigated eleven alleged bullying incidents of a student with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and determined four of them to be disability-based harassment.   OCR stated that when a school district discovers the occurrence of disability-based harassment, which is a form of discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the school district must take prompt and effective action reasonably calculated to stop the harassment, prevent its recurrence and, as appropriate, remedy its effects.  OCR determined that although the school district’s actions to promptly investigate and attempt to stop the harassment were effective with many of the bullies involved, one of the bullies continued to harass the student despite the school district’s efforts.  As a result, OCR determined that it would monitor the school district’s implementation of a resolution agreement designed to prevent disability-based harassment against the student in the future.

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Parent’s removal of student from public school did not excuse school district’s failure to develop IEP

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Department of Education, State of Hawaii v. M.F., 58 IDELR 34 (D. Hawaii 2011): The federal district court stated that although a parent removed a student, classified as emotionally disturbed (due to her diagnoses of reactive attachment disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, gender identity disorder, and major depressive disorder) from a public school, the public school district still should at least have attempted to prepare IEPs for the beginning of the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years.  The IDEA requires a school district to give a parent prior written notice before special education and related services are discontinued, and the parent’s removal of the student did not excuse the school district from this requirement.  However, the federal court vacated and remanded the hearing officer’s decision that the parent was entitled to private school tuition reimbursement.  The court reasoned that the record was silent regarding whether, despite the school district’s procedural violation, the student suffered a “loss of educational opportunity,” since it was unclear whether the parent would have accepted a public school placement even if it was offered.  The court also stated that the hearing officer failed to address equitable considerations regarding the parent’s entitlement to reimbursement, since the parent failed to notify the school district before removing the student from the public school.

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District violated 504 and Title II of ADA upon failing to refer student to District’s 504 Team

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Palo Verde (CA) Unified School District, 56 IDELR 177 (OCR 2010): The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) determined that the school district violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it failed to refer a student with Bipolar Disorder, Organic Affective Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to the school district’s Section 504 team after finding that the student was ineligible for services through an Individual Education Program (IEP) under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The school district erroneously limited its analysis to whether or not the student suffered from a physical or mental impairment that limited the major life activity of learning.  OCR stated that the school district should have also considered the affects of the student’s impairments on other major life activities.

OCR also stated that the school district incorrectly considered the extent to which medication mitigated the student’s impairment.  OCR pointed out that the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act (ADAA) of 2008 prohibits the consideration of “ameliorative effects of mitigating measures,” such as medication, in determining whether or not an individual is considered to be disabled under Section 504 or Title II of the ADA.

Moreover, OCR determined that when the school district’s IEP team refused to refer the student to the District’s 504 Team the school district, in effect, determined that the student was ineligible for services under Section 504.  Therefore, the school district violated Section 504 when it failed to provide the student’s parents with notice of their procedural rights under Section 504.

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Parent permitted to use Section 1983 to enforce hearing officer’s order

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Dominique L. v. Board of Education of the City of Chicago, 56 IDELR 65 (N.D. Ill. 2011): The Court determined that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provided the parent of a student with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with no mechanism to seek court enforcement of the favorable decision of an impartial hearing officer (IHO), since only a party “aggrieved by the findings and decision” of a hearing officer could seek judicial review of that decision.  However, the Court was persuaded by the decisions of many circuit courts of appeals and ruled that the parent may use Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act to enforce the IHO’s decision.

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Parent successfully argued that residential placement was appropriate when student’s aggressive behaviors were not limited to the home setting

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Linda E. v. Bristol Warren Regional School District, 55 IDELR 218 (D.R.I. 2010): The parent of a student diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and major depressive disorder successfully argued that the school district denied the student a free appropriate public education (FAPE) by failing to recommend her for placement in a residential school.  The Court rejected the school district’s argument that the student’s aggressive behaviors were “segregable from the learning process.”  Rather, the evidence demonstrated that the student’s troubling conduct was not limited to the home environment.  The Court was persuaded by the testimony of the student’s psychiatrists who had testified that the student needed a residential placement in order to make reasonable educational progress.

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Parent permitted to pursue child find claim by alleging sufficient facts that school district should have evaluated student with ADHD

Monday, May 9th, 2011

E.S. v. Konocti Unified School District, 55 IDELR 226 (N.D. Cal. 2010): The parents of a student with ADHD successfully avoided dismissal of their child find claims by alleging sufficient evidence that the school district should have evaluated the student to determine whether he was eligible for IDEA services.  Among the facts alleged by the parents were that the student was repeatedly disciplined by the school district for emotional outbursts, as well as defiant, disruptive, aggressive and other inappropriate behaviors.  The parents alleged that these behaviors, which are common manifestations of ADHD, caused the student’s educational performance to decline and necessitated special education services.  Moreover, the Court concluded that the parents raised sufficient facts in order to avoid dismissal of their claim for money damages under Section 504, which requires that the school district acted “intentionally or with deliberate indifference.”  The parents alleged that the school district was aware of the student’s disability, knew the student’s disability was substantially likely to impair his ability to receive educational benefit, and repeatedly failed to act upon that likelihood.

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Hearing officer improperly extended IDEA eligibility as a compensatory measure to a student who was awarded a regular high school diploma

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Dracut School Committee v. Bureau of Special Education Appeals, 55 IDELR 66 (D. Mass. 2010):  A student, diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Bipolar Disorder, and an anxiety disorder, was denied a FAPE when the school district failed to provide him with proper transition goals and services.  The Hearing Officer awarded the student compensatory services for the denial of FAPE and awarded the student a high school diploma.  However, having awarded the student a diploma, the Court ruled that the Hearing Officer improperly also extended the student’s IDEA eligibility for two years after graduation.  Nonetheless, the Court remanded the case back to the hearing officer to determine the appropriate level of compensatory services needed in the areas of employment and independent living.

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IDEA offers protection to gifted students who qualify as students with disabilities

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Anonymous, Letter to, 55 IDELR 172 (OSEP  2010):  The United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) responded to a letter from a concerned individual who inquired about the protections offered to gifted students by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  In particular the individual was concerned about students with high cognition who are also diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Asperger’s Syndrome, or specific learning disabilities.  OSEP responded by informing the individual that although the IDEA does not specifically address so-called “gifted” students, it is OSEP’s position that students with high cognition who have one of the specific impairments enumerated in the IDEA should qualify for IDEA services if they require special education and related services because of their disability.  For example a “gifted” student diagnosed with ADHD might qualify as a student with an “Other Health Impairment,” and a “gifted” student with Asperger’s Syndrome might qualify as a student with a disability under the category of autism.

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