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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

SDNY reverses SRO on reimbursement claim

T.P. ex rel. S.P. v. Mamaroneck Union Free School Dist. (S.D.N.Y. May 10, 2007)

NOTE: This case was reversed by the 2nd Circuit on February 03, 2009 at 554 F.3d 247.

This case with a decision date of May 10, 2007, but just now publicly reported, is of major importance in New York State where the State Review Office has found against parents in the great majority of cases from 2006 to the present. In this case, the parent lost at hearing and at SRO(05-076). This is a must read for parent attorneys and autism advocates. In sum, the Court found that:

  1. the district had improperly predetermined the child’s placement

  2. the child was entitled to extended day services

  3. the IEP which failed to include any transitional provisions for at-home ABA services, was not reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive an educational benefit and deprived him of a FAPE.

The District had knowledge of the Child's difficulty with transitions, and the IEP containing no at-home ABA therapy failed to address the Child's individual needs. Examining the evidence of record and giving due weight to the proceedings below, the Court cannot conclude that the child was likely to make progress under a plan that would bluntly change his routine, and in which no at home ABA therapy was provided, despite his being accustomed for the prior years provided with 30-35 hours per week of at home ABA services, and under which program he made meaningful advances.

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