Students’ stories

Mary is a 16 year old student who has Non Verbal Learning disability, as well she has lived with a Chiari brain malformation.  She was bullied in multiple previous placements to the point she suffered from debilitating headaches and severe PTSD.  After working with the district on the team level, and seeing that they were unable or unwilling to keep her safe or even formally admit that bullying was occurring, I filed a request for administrative hearing seeking outplacement.  Through the resolution process, the team agreed she would benefit from a 45 day assessment program.  At the conclusion of the assessment, the school district agreed that her needs moving forward will be met in a private 766 approved day school.

Wilson is a 4 year old boy who holds a diagnosis of autism.  As he graduated Early Intervention, the receiving school district did not hold a team meeting as it was required to do to determine if he required special education services.  When a meeting was finally held 7 months later, the administrator determined that the very low/borderline scores he received on their own testing did not give the district comprehensive enough information to qualify him for special education services and again found him ineligible.  After I became involved, a request for due process hearing was initiated and a settlement agreement was reached not only enrolling Wilson immediately in special education programming, with related supports, but also providing for compensatory services for the now 11 months for which he had been without services he was legally entitled to.

James is a 7 year old student with autism and mental retardation who also has many medical concerns.  Living with his father, who struggles with his own mental health issues, as his primary caregiver, with no involvement from the other parent, James had attended his district’s PDD program and was not making progress commensurate with his unique abilities.  Now, he attends an intensive ABA program (766 approved private day school) and is making progress across all settings and is able to access his potential in ways he wouldn’t have been able to in the district’s inadequate program.

Matthew, a 6 year old boy, has autism.  His mother approached me in January, explaining that his accepted IEP indicated a 1:1 aide for all the time he spent in inclusion and had not been provided since the beginning of the school year, despite numerous conversations with and emails/letters to the school district.  Not only were we successful in getting the 1:1 aide implemented, but I filed a detailed complaint with Program Quality Assurance at the MDESE.  PQA supported the allegations of non-compliance, and I was able to negotiate a generous settlement agreement with the Special Education Director where outside social skills programming was provided long-term as compensatory for the hundreds of missing instructional hours that the trained, ABA paraprofessional had not been provided to the Student.

** stories have been shared with permission and identifying information has been changed

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