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OAH AND AUTISM PROGRAMS:. WHAT'S REQUIRED- WHAT'S NOT. *Our newest location:. Sacramento Office 520 Capitol Mall Suite 400 Sacramento California 95814 Tel: 916.443.0000 Fax: 916.443.0030. Overview. Autism Spectrum Disorder: What is it?

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OAH AND AUTISM PROGRAMS:

WHAT'S REQUIRED- WHAT'S NOT

*Our newest location:

Sacramento Office

520 Capitol Mall

Suite 400

Sacramento

California 95814

Tel: 916.443.0000

Fax: 916.443.0030


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Overview

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder:

    What is it?

  • OAH Cases: Preschool, Elementary, Middle & High Schools

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Autism: What is it?

According to the CDC, the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 150 American children; almost 1 in 94 boys

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Autism: What is it?Fastest Growing Category in California

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Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Autism: What is it?

  • Dr. Leo Kanner

  • 1943

  • Johns Hopkins University

  • “Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact”

  • The word “autism” comes from the Greek word “auto” meaning “self”

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Autism: What is it?

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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California DefinitionAutistic-Like Behaviors

  • Inability to use oral language for appropriate communication

  • History of extreme withdrawal or of relating to people inappropriately, and continued impairment in social interaction from infancy through early childhood

  • Obsession to maintain sameness

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

California DefinitionAutistic-Like Behaviors

  • Extreme preoccupation with objects, inappropriate use of objects, or both

  • Extreme resistance to controls

  • Peculiar motoric mannerisms and motility patterns

  • Self-stimulating, ritualistic behavior

    Ed.Code § 56846.2; CCR Title 5, § 3030(g)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool: Common Autism Issues

  • Predetermination

  • LRE

  • Methodology

  • 1:1 Aide

  • Medical/Dietary

  • And more…

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool: Common Autism IssuesPredetermination

FACTS:

  • Pre-IEP team meeting to develop assessment plan

  • District administrator spoke to parent regarding assessor’s recommendation

  • Staff discussed possible services student needed before IEP team meeting

(Solana Beach ESD (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Preschool: Common Autism IssuesPredetermination

RULING:

  • District did not predetermine placement

  • IEP reflected recommendations of parent and others

  • District did not refuse to consider placement at private preschool

(Solana Beach ESD (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Practice Pointer

Avoid Charges of Predetermination

  • Explain that pre-IEP meetings are for preparation, not decision-making

  • Do not direct staff to take a particular position or refuse to consider a service

  • Consider input of all IEP team members: Parent, private, NPA, Regional Center, etc.

  • Explain that a draft IEP is only a DRAFT

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool: Common Autism IssuesLRE

FACTS:

  • Student was attending private general ed. preschool + 1:1 aide

  • District offered:

    • A.M. SDC

    • P.M. Public general ed. preschool + 1:1 aide

(Solana Beach ESD (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Preschool: Common Autism IssuesLRE

RULING:

  • SDC met student’s instructional needs

  • But, SDC was not LRE

  • And, general ed. class inappropriate because too many classmates and transitions

(Solana Beach ESD (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Preschool: Common Autism IssuesLRE

“The inquiry is not whether the SDC is best for Student. Rather, the inquiry is whether Student should be removed [from] the general education environment because the nature and severity of her disabilities is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. Therefore, even if it is not the best academicsetting for a Student, a general education classroom is appropriate if the child can receive a satisfactory education there.”

(Solana Beach ESD (OAH 2008).) (Emphasis added)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool: Common Autism IssuesMethodology

  • Dr. Ivar Lovaas

  • ABA, DTT, PRT, PECS

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool: Common Autism IssuesMethodology

  • Eclectic

  • RDI

  • TEACCH

  • SUCSESS

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool: Common Autism IssuesMethodology Based onPeer-Reviewed Research

IEP shall include a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable

(20 U.S.C. 1414.)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool: Common Autism IssuesMethodology

FACTS:

  • District offered preschool SDC under “SUCSESS” program, including TEACCH and DTT

  • Parent requested ABA home program of 35 hours per week

(Anaheim City S.D. (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Preschool: Common Autism IssuesMethodology

RULING:

  • No persuasive authority required ABA home program for student

  • IDEA does not mandate particular methodology. As long as district provides appropriate program, methodology is left to district’s discretion

(Anaheim City S.D. (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool: Common Autism IssuesAide Support

FACTS:

  • Preschooler was receiving 30 hrs/week of ABA from NPA

  • District offered Headstart preschool class + 1:1 aide for 1 month

  • Parent sought 40 hrs/week of ABA from NPA at home and school

(Hacienda La Puente U.S.D. (OAH 2007).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Preschool: Common Autism IssuesAide Support

RULING:

Placement appropriate, but OAH ordered the district to provide a 1:1 aide for the fall semester and convene an IEP team meeting 30 days prior to spring semester to reevaluate student’s need for a 1:1 aide

(Hacienda La Puente U.S.D. (OAH 2007).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool: Common Autism IssuesMedical & Dietary

FACTS:

  • Immune & gastrointestinal disorder

  • Strict GFCF

  • Recommended ABA in-home

(Lowell Jt. S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Preschool: Common Autism IssuesMedical & Dietary

  • District offered pre-K at elementary school

  • Per district physician consultant’s recommendations, reduce exposure to allergens and facilitate learning, IEP included air filter, shoe removal, GFCF school supplies, and 1:1 assistant to monitor environment

(Lowell Jt. S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Preschool: Common Autism IssuesMedical & Dietary

RULING:

  • District designed an appropriate educational program

  • Incorporated physician’s recommendations to meet student’s medical, dietary, and safety needs

(Lowell Jt. S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool: Common Autism IssuesChanging Program Without Assessment

  • FACTS: 4-year old in SDC - tantrums, screaming, off task

  • Observations, but no assessments

  • Moved to higher functioning social skills class with parent consent

(Anaheim City S.D. (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Preschool: Common Autism IssuesChanging Program Without Assessment

RULING:

  • District failed to assess behavioral &

    cognitive needs

  • Student awarded NPA behavior services as compensatory education

(Anaheim City S.D. (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Preschool: Common Autism IssuesRelated Service Description

FACTS:

  • District offered two 30-minute sessions of speech-language therapy described as “Individual and Group; Direct and Collaboration; Monitor and Consult.”

  • Staff said the offer included possibility of individual session, no guarantee

(Capistrano U.S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Preschool: Common Autism IssuesRelated Service Description

RULING:

District failed to make a clear written offer. Of the two 30 minute sessions, student required that one be an individual session; IEP was unclear

(Capistrano U.S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Elementary School

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Elementary: Common Autism Issues

  • Behavior

  • Placement Description

  • ESY

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Elementary: Common Autism IssuesBehavior

FACTS:

  • 3rd grader, Aspergers

  • General ed. class +1:1 aide

  • Parent was not consulted in assigning student to multi-teacher class

  • Parent alleged it caused student’s behavior problems

(Cupertino Union S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Elementary: Common Autism IssuesBehavior

RULING:

  • Multi-teacher class was appropriate

  • Student’s behavior problems were attributed to his difficulty with the more challenging academic requirements

(Cupertino Union S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Elementary: Common Autism IssuesBehavior

FACTS:

  • 10-year-old boy: AUT, ED, SLI

  • Current district offered SDC, 2 hrs/wk of ABA services, and continued prior district’s BIP

  • New BIP & FAA to target screaming, hitting, and teasing

  • Parent sought residential placement and ABA services of 25 to 35 hrs/wk

(Tustin U.S.D./Orange U.S.D. (OAH 2005).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Elementary: Common Autism IssuesBehavior

RULING:

  • Both prior district & current district addressed student’s needs with BIPs & FAAs

  • BIP was successful because targeted behaviors began to slow

(Tustin U.S.D./Orange U.S.D. (OAH 2005).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Elementary: Common Autism IssuesBehavior

FACTS:

  • 10-year-old received ABA-IBI at school for two hours/day and then gradual elimination

  • February: FAA & BIP reviewed, improvement

  • March: Negative behaviors escalated, e.g., bit & hit staff, threw shoes, screamed, etc.

  • May: More biting, parent removed student from school to ABA home program

  • June: Modified BIP presented at IEP meeting

(Capistrano U.S.D. (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Elementary: Common Autism IssuesBehavior

RULING:

$75,000 for ABA home program b/c FAPE was denied beginning in July when district failed to conduct an FAA and restart IBI-ABA at school

(Capistrano U.S.D. (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Elementary: Common Autism IssuesPlacement Description

FACTS:

  • June IEP: Proposed SDC not yet in existence, offered for following year

  • Staff said the SDC will have sensory rooms - a trait of the TEACCH method

  • August: SDC was actually ABA based- no sensory room

(Yucaipa-Calimesa U.S.D. (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Elementary: Common Autism IssuesPlacement Description

RULING:

District failed to accurately describe placement because SDC offered in June IEP was not SDC that opened in August. District may not unilaterally change the proposed program after IEP is developed

(Yucaipa-Calimesa U.S.D. (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Elementary: Common Autism IssuesESY

FACTS:

  • 3rd grader achieving above grade level

  • For ESY, district offered 120 hours of ABA services by NPA

  • Parent requested 200 hours and an academic component for ESY

(Tustin U.S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Elementary: Common Autism IssuesESY

RULING:

120 hours of ABA was appropriate. Student was progressing year-to-year and did not require more to avoid regression

(Tustin U.S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Elementary: Common Autism IssuesESY

FACTS:

  • 9-year-old in an SDC

  • NPA behavior intervention

  • For ESY, district offered SDC, a 1:1 aide, and 10 hours/wk behavioral intervention

  • For EESY, 15 hours/wk behavioral intervention

  • State revoked NPA’s certification, but parent refused to consider another NPA

  • 10 IEP team meetings!

(San Ramon U.S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Elementary: Common Autism IssuesESY

RULING:

  • Convening 10 IEP team meetings was reasonably calculated to gain the maximum input

  • ESY and EESY programs were similar to student’s regular school year placement

  • District acted properly in effort to transition from student’s NPA to own personnel

(San Ramon U.S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Middle & High School

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Middle & High School: Common Autism Issues

  • Transition Support

  • Home Instruction/Independent Study

  • Parentally PlacedPrivate School Students

  • Aide Support

  • Post-School Transition

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesTransition Support

  • 5th grade: Diagnosed w/ Aspergers

  • 7th grade: Initial IEP, access to nurse’s office (toilet flushing phobia)

  • 8th grade: Dual placement at middle & high schools. No supports at high school - bathroom accidents

  • Parent enrolled student in NPS

  • 9th grade: District offered placement at public high school

(Torrance U.S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesTransition Support

RULING:

Student was awarded reimbursement & prospective placement at NPS due to district’s failure to offer transition support to move from NPS to public high school

(Torrance U.S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesHome Instruction and Independent Study

FACTS:

  • 8th grader with Asperger’s in general ed. class with 1:1 aide

  • Student brought Thor, a service dog, to school, to calm him

  • Parent kept student home when school prohibited Thor

(Bakersfield City S.D. (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesHome Instruction and Independent Study

  • IEP meeting convened due to student’s non-attendance

  • District offered five hours/wk of home instruction

  • IEP notes, “if at any time parent would like to enroll student in school, FAPE offer is available” and “Parent declines FAPE offer and would like ISP (independent study program) not to exceed 30 days”

(Bakersfield City S.D. (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesHome Instruction and Independent Study

RULING:

  • Thor was not essential service for FAPE

  • Parent’s unilateral home placement did not alter analysis

  • District informed parent that it was ready, willing, and able to place student in a general education classroom, but without Thor

(Bakersfield City S.D. (OAH 2008).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Practice Pointer

Don’t Water Down Offer of FAPE

  • If a parent unilaterally removes a child, clearly communicate the district’s willingness to implement its offer of FAPE

  • Avoid the temptation to pare down the offer of FAPE for the sake of appeasing the parent

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesParent Placed Private School Students

FACTS:

  • 6th grader, Aspergers, private elementary school

  • In January 2008, parent paid $30,400 for student’s enrollment for 2008-09 at Bridges, a private middle school

  • Parent requested district assessment

  • District proposed NPS, not Bridges

(Los Angeles U.S.D. (OAH 2008) 2008080771)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesParent Placed Private School Students

RULING:

  • District’s offer was appropriate

  • Parent predetermined student would attend Bridges before the IEP team meeting

  • Parent had no intention of accepting any placement but Bridges Academy

(Los Angeles U.S.D. (OAH 2008) 2008080771)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesAide Support

FACTS:

  • Incoming 9th grader offered general ed., RSP, and 1:1 aide

  • Parent claimed 1:1 aide isolated, stigmatized, and prevented student from forming friendships

  • Parent wanted NPS

(Simi Valley U.S.D. (OAH 2007).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesAide Support

RULING:

  • District’s offer of placement was appropriate

  • Student needed a 1:1 aide to maintain focus and facilitate peer interaction, particularly in a new high school

  • Parent’s preferred NPS placement had very few female students, impeding ability to form friendships

(Simi Valley U.S.D. (OAH 2007).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesAide Support

FACTS:

  • 16-year-old, PDD-NOS

  • Parent wanted general ed. class with 1:1 aide and speech-language therapy

  • District offered SDC based on past general ed. experience

(Corona-Norco U.S.D. (OAH 2005).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesAide Support

RULING:

  • SDC was appropriate

  • Student could not access general ed. curriculum due to cognitive delays

  • Student obtained academic benefit without 1:1 aide or speech-language therapy

  • Student showed academic progress every year except the year he had been placed in general ed. setting

(Corona-Norco U.S.D. (OAH 2005).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesPost-School Transition Programs

FACTS:

  • Transition Resources for Adult Community Education (“TRACE”) for ages 18 to 22, to transition from high school to adult life

  • Parent desired a private facility located outside district’s boundaries

(San Diego U.S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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cont.

Middle & High School: Common Autism IssuesPost-School Transition Programs

RULING:

  • The district’s TRACE program greatly exceeded the minimal “floor of opportunity” standard required to provide a FAPE

  • Program mirrored the adult programs to which student would be transitioning at age 22

(San Diego U.S.D. (OAH 2006).)

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP


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Autism Program Components

  • Younger Students

  • ABA

  • Older Students

  • Vocational training

  • Counseling

  • General Ed., RSP/SDC

  • 1:1 aide/classroom aides

  • Sp/Lang

  • OT

  • APE

  • FAA/PBIP

  • Transition Plan

  • ESY

  • Transportation

See charts in Appendix

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Fagen Friedman & FulfrostLLP




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