Counsel for Student: Lynda Williams
Date of Decision: February, 2022
Significant areas of law: Failure to evaluate student for a specific disability requested by parents is not denial of FAPE where the evaluation conducted by school results in framing of appropriate IEP goals to address student’s specific needs.
- Did school deny student a FAPE by failing to evaluate student for “dyslexia”?
FACTS OF THE CASE:
- Student was dyslexic. The parent alleged that the district violated the IDEA when it evaluated the student for a “specific learning disability” and not specifically for “dyslexia.” The parent further alleged that the district denied her child a FAPE when it failed to include the parent’s preferred dyslexia instructional method in the student’s IEP, and that the parent’s subsequent request for an IEE at public expense was improperly denied.
- Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decided the case against Student and in favor of School.
- Parents filed appeal against decision of ALJ before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit which confirmed the decision of ALJ.
- School DID NOT deny student a FAPE by failing to evaluate student for “dyslexia”.
- The district’s evaluation was not deficient simply because the term “dyslexia” was not used in the evaluation or in the IEP, as the parent preferred.
- School district complied with the IDEA when it developed an IEP that was “reasonably calculated” to enable the student to make meaningful progress towards improving her assessed language deficiencies. The student’s IEP goals were targeted to address the exact learning areas in which she struggled and she was making measured progress towards those goals in both the special and general education environments.
- IDEA affords educators the discretion to select from various methods for meeting the individualized needs of a student, provided those methods are reasonably calculated to provide educational benefit.