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The GAP Attorneys Blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)’

Student’s academic and behavioral problems were a result of social maladjustment, not an emotional disturbance

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

W.G. v. New York City Department of Education, 56 IDELR 260 (S.D.N.Y. 2011): The parents of a student with conduct and personality disorders – including Oppositional Defiance Disorder – were denied reimbursement for a unilateral private school placement after the court affirmed the decision of the State Review Officer (SRO) concluding that the student was not eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The court found that the student’s academic and behavioral problems were a result of a social maladjustment, which more specifically for this student included narcissistic personality traits, conduct and personality disorders, and substance abuse.  The court noted that “social maladjustment” is specifically excluded from the definition of “emotional disturbance,” which is one of the thirteen disability categories defined in the IDEA and the only disability category for which the parents argued the student met the criteria.

NOTE: Another federal district court in New York arrived at a similar conclusion in a similar case (on almost the same date).  See P.C. v. Oceanside Union Free School District.

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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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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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