Case Conclusion Date:October 24, 2012
Outcome:The ALJ found the District denied the Student an appropriate education by offering a predetermined placement that provided no access to education, ordering it to reimburse the Parents for the cost of maintaining the private program until it offers a FAPE.
Description:After a disastrous attempt to learn at a District school, the Student began receiving his education in a District funded private program run by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) as part of a settlement agreement with the District. He made steady, and in some areas extraordinary educational and functional progress in the private program over a number of years. Key to that success were the comprehensive nature of the program developed by the BCBA and other experts, the behavior and safety supports, and the extensive process that was used to train staff in the Student’s unique form of communication and build an instructional relationship between new staff and the Student. If any person that did not have this extensive communication training or had not established the instructional relationship with the Student attempted to teach him, it led to significant and escalating aggressive and self-injurious behavior. As the agreement expired the Parents and the District began discussing a new Individualized Education Program (IEP). The Parents and their experts shared the Student’s unique educational needs and the need to use the comprehensive program as a whole to educate the Student. Despite having minimal experience with the Student, the District ignored the recommendations of the Parents and their experts, drafting an IEP that contained no communication training, rejected the private behavior analysis and plan, and had no provision for developing instructional relationships with the Student. Further, before even beginning this discussion, the District predetermined that the Student would be attending a District classroom and it would no longer fund or consider the successful private program. The District’s proposed placement sacrificed the Student’s ability to communicate with adults in the setting and receive instruction from adults with the necessary relationship for potential interaction with kids his own age, which the Student found completely aversive.