Our Education and Disability Rights Project (EDRP) helps children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other conditions to secure necessary education services from their school districts and support from the Office for People with Developmental Disorders (OPWDD). The COVID-19 Pandemic has been particularly disruptive for many of these children and adults. The EDRP recently represented an 11-year-old student with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder who had been out of the classroom for almost two years.
In September 2019, the School District’s Committee on Special Education (CSE) determined that it did not have an appropriate in-district program for the Student and placed him on homebound instruction. The student was provided with only bare-bones academic and related services. Despite disability-related behaviors that impeded the student’s learning, he received no behavioral support whatsoever.
With the onset of COVID-19 in early 2020, the School District was unable to implement the Student’s Individualized Education Program. The student’s providers were unable to provide in-person services for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. In addition, the student’s disability prevented him from accessing his education virtually. As a result, the student regressed academically, socially, and behaviorally.
The family sought help from Nassau Suffolk Law Services in May 2020. After several CSE meetings, EDRP Staff Attorney Tracey Discepolo filed a Due Process Complaint against the School District for the denial of a Free Appropriate Public Education. The EDRP negotiated a settlement requiring the School District to place the student in a school-based program and provided a transition plan to help the student attend his new placement. The student received critical Behavior Support Services, a 1:1 bus matron, an early triennial evaluation, and a commitment from the CSE to review the appropriateness of the new school placement after one month. Finally, the School District agreed to provide many hours of compensatory education for missed services in the areas of academic tutoring, Speech-Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Parent Counseling and Training.
Families concerned that their children with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other disabilities are not receiving appropriate services can contact the EDRP for assistance by calling 516-292-8100.
All of our offices are now open to the public and accepting walk-ins.