Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Seattle Academy A Big Success

Pike Place Market in Seattle
Pike Place Market in Seattle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


















Last week was the annual Seattle U. Academy for IDEA hearing officers and administrative law judges. It was especially good this year. All those special ed hearing officers in one place is always good- a chance to compare notes, think about what works and get some validation. It is nice to see old friends and make some new ones.  

My panel on decision writing led things off.  It easily filled three hours and it went very well. The participants were very involved and they gave helpful input.  Two colleagues offered sample decisions for discussion.  It was one of those sessions where we all learned from each other.  It was a decision-writing clinic. Great session.

Other highlights included learning about behavior in children from Jerry Sattler and getting a copy of his authoritative treatise on the subject.  Also an interesting session on neuroscience and decision making biases finished off the training. 

Thanks again to those who made this training a success.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekly Question!

Procedural violations of IDEA are only actionable if they adversely impact the child's education or significantly impair the parents' participation rights. Which procedural violations are most likely to result in an adverse finding against a school district?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Weekly Question!

Procedural violations of IDEA are only actionable if they adversely impact the child's education or significantly impair the parents' participation rights. Which procedural violations are most likely to result in an adverse finding against a school district?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

More Thoughts on Ermini v. Vittori

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for...
Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



















Our last post discussed the breaking second circuit decision in Ermini v. Vittori.  You can read that post here. It is a big case.

The case is interesting for a number of reasons.  First there is the international aspect.  The case involves a treaty- pretty unusual and different than the usual statutes, regs and caselaw.  And yes, as alert readers have informed me, the child involved, Danielle, is in fact a boy.

Also the case raises issues of domestic violence. Awareness of this problem is higher than ever and that is good.  But the problem for society is still a huge one.  There is a tie in to special ed law.  I believe that there is a connection between domestic violence and the bullying problem which continues to be a hot button.  The Ermini decision places domestic violence issue front and center.

But the big question from our perspective is how this case will affect the IDEA analysis of ABA-based therapy.  I predict (and my crystal ball is sometimes cloudy!) that hearing officers and courts in special education cases will soon be hearing arguments on just what this second circuit decision means for purposes of IDEA.  It was not an IDEA case, but I am already imagining the arguments that clever lawyers on both sides will be making.

What are your thoughts on the IDEA significance of Ermini v. Vittori?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Breaking: Second Circuit Decision on ABA Therapy

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for...
Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



















OK this was not a special education decision, but it is a significant decision about a nine year old boy with autism. Her Italian parents moved to the United States to obtain ABA therapy for Danielle, their son.

After some domestic violence, the marriage ended in divorce. The father sued under the Hague Convention  as implemented in the United States by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 U.S.C. § 11601 et seq. to have his daughter returned to Italy. The Hague Convention is a treaty that provides for the return of children wrongfully removed from their country of habitual residence. The U. S. District Court in New York found that the student had benefited immensely from her ABA-based program, especially in the areas of communication, vocabulary, self-care and general cognition. The court found further that any hope that the child might lead an independent and productive life required a continued ABA program like the one offered by his school in the United States.  The Court found it very likely that the child would not be able to have a similar educational program in Italy.  The court ruled that the child could remain in the US because return to Italy posed a grave risk of harm to the child, one of the exceptions spelled out by the treaty

The Second Circuit affirmed noting that both the domestic violence history and the harm caused by the loss of the child's educational ABA-based program would pose a grave risk of harm to the child.

You can read the entire Second Circuit decision here.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Weekly Question!

Procedural violations of IDEA are only actionable if they adversely impact the child's education or significantly impair the parents' participation rights. Which procedural violations are most likely to result in an adverse finding against a school district?