Adam Wasserman Site


CASE NO. 2023020680 2023020409


Counsel for Student: Paul A. Hefley, Jr.

Counsel for Academy: Courtney M. Brady

Representative for Academy: Dr. Pamela Gandara

ALJ: Jennifer Kelly

Date of Decision: July 20, 2023

Significant areas of law: Failure to consider and discuss private assessments in IEP is against the requirements specified under the IDEA.


  • Were Academy’s psychoeducational assessment and report appropriate?


  • Student was five (05) years old eligible for special education under the primary category of autism. Student qualified for early intervention services through the Inland Regional Center based upon developmental delays. He received occupational therapy and speech and language services.
  • Parents requested Academy to conduct evaluations in the areas of psychoeducation, occupational therapy, speech and language, visual processing by a developmental optometrist, audiological processing by an audiologist, functional behavior, and emotionally related mental health services.
  • Academy conducted the assessments, but Student contends that the aforesaid assessments did not accurately reflect Student’s needs, specifically in the areas of auditory and visual processing, functional behavior, and assistive technology.


  • Academy’s psychoeducational assessment and report WERE NOT appropriate.


  • If a parent obtains an independent educational evaluation or shares an evaluation they privately paid for, the school district must consider the evaluation when making decisions about the student. (20 U.S.C. § 1414(b)(2)(A); 34 C.F.R. §§ 300.304, 300.502(c)(1).) A school district has no obligation to adopt the evaluator’s recommendations or conclusions. (See T.S. v. Board of Educ. of the Town of Ridgefield (2nd Cir. 1993) 10 F.3d 87, 89-90.)
  • Academy did not prove it considered the visual and auditory processing reports provided by Parents as part of the psychoeducational assessment. (20 U.S.C.§ 1414(b)(2)(A); 34 C.F.R. § 300.304.)
  • Academy did not explain whether private assessors’ testing accurately captured Student’s auditory and visual processing deficits and needs and offered no evidence how it interpreted the private assessor’s auditory processing evaluation or visual processing evaluation. Academy also did not explain how these reports informed its decisions about Student’s skills and deficits in these areas. Academy provided no explanation for failing to consider any of the findings of private assessments results, or their recommendations for accommodations and services.
  • Academy did not prove the outcome of Student’s phonological and visual processing assessments were sufficiently comprehensive to identify Student’s special education and related service needs as required by the IDEA. (34 C.F.R § 300.304(c)(6).).
  • Academy failed to meet its burden of proving its psychoeducational assessment was legally compliant based upon deficiencies in the phonological and visual processing components.
  • Academy did not establish that its assessments were sufficiently comprehensive to rule out visual and phonological deficits, or that additional visual and auditory processing assessments were not necessary.


  • Within 30 calendar days of this Order, Academy shall contract with a licensed school psychologist of Parents’ choice, for an independent psychoeducational evaluation report at a cost not to exceed $5,000.00. Academy shall hold an IEP team meeting within 30 days of receipt of the independent psychoeducational evaluation and fund up to two hours of the cost of the assessor’s attendance at the IEP meeting to review the evaluation.
  • Within 15 days of the start of the school year, Academy shall convene an IEP team meeting to discuss Student’s services, the continuum of placement options, and Student’s least restrictive environment, and shall make a placement offer that complies with IDEA procedures. Parents shall be provided an opportunity to ask questions and express their concerns about the placement offer.
  • Within 30 calendar days from the date of this Order, Academy shall contract with a non-public agency or independent law firm specializing in special education law to provide four hours of training to Academy’s administrators and special education staff concerning requirements and best practices for promoting parental participation and avoiding predetermination of FAPE offers at IEP team meetings.
  • Within 30 calendar days of this Order, Academy shall contract with a nonpublic agency of its choice to provide Parents four hours of parent counseling and training to assist Parents in understanding the special needs of Student and help Parents to acquire the necessary skills that will allow them to support the implementation of Student’s IEP. The services shall be provided by a non-public agency by a qualified social worker, psychologist, guidance counselor, or other qualified personnel, and shall include tools for effective communication with teachers, staff, and administration.

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