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Posts Tagged ‘Full tuition reimbursement’

Failure to incorporate behavior intervention plan and parent training into autistic student’s IEP contributed to a denial of FAPE and entitled parents to full reimbursement for private school placement

Monday, June 20th, 2011

R.K. v. New York City Department of Education, 56 IDELR 168 adopted at 56 IDELR 212 (E.D.N.Y. 2011): The district court agreed with an impartial hearing officer’s (IHO’s) decision (which had been overturned by the state review officer (SRO)) that the failure to incorporate a behavior intervention plan (BIP) into an autistic student’s IEP contributed to a denial of a free appropriate public education (FAPE), and entitled the student’s parents to tuition reimbursement for their unilateral private school placement.  The court was not satisfied with testimony from a teacher that she would have developed a BIP had the student attended the recommended public school placement.  The court stated that it is the responsibility of the IEP team to conduct a functional behavioral analysis (FBA) and incorporate a BIP into the student’s IEP.

Also contributing to the denial of FAPE was the school district’s failure to incorporate parent counseling and training, which is required to be provided to the parents of autistic students by New York state law, into the student’s IEP.  The school district also violated New York state law by failing to provide the student with speech and language therapy for 30-minutes daily, which was required by the state regulations at that time.  The Court also determined that the recommended 6:1:1 classroom placement was not restrictive enough for the student’s extensive needs.

However, the school district did not violate the parent’s rights to participate in the IEP process by failing to allow them to participate in the selection of the physical location of the student’s recommended program.  While parents should be afforded the opportunity to participate in the selection of their child’s “educational placement,” this term refers only to the general type of educational program in which the student is placed.

Moreover, the court overturned the portion of the IHO’s decision that had awarded the parent’s only partial reimbursement for the unilateral private school placement.  Although the IHO determined that the private placement met only part of the student’s special educational needs, such shortcomings should have only been considered as factors in evaluating the placement as a whole.  Since the placement provided the student with an education specifically designed to meet the student’s needs, the parents were entitled to full tuition reimbursement.

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