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.

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