Counsel for Student: Leroy Sumter and Sheila Bayne
Counsel for District: Tilman Heyer, Marcy Gutierrez and Louis Chaippe
Representative for District: Ericka Tschantz
ALJ: Deborah Myers-Cregar
Date of Decision: March 13, 2023
Significant areas of law: Services can only be offered after proper assessment and in case parents do not give consent to the assessment, District’s failure to offer services is not denial of FAPE.
- Did District deny student a FAPE by failing to offer occupational therapy?
FACTS OF THE CASE:
- Student was seven years old and was eligible for special education under the categories of autism spectrum disorder and specific learning disability.
- District DID NOT deny student a FAPE by failing to offer occupational therapy.
- Student’s expert witness credibly testified that it would not be appropriate to offer services without an assessment. However, District could not assess Student without Parent’s consent.
- District staff conducted initial assessments which evaluated Student for motor development and perceptual skills and had concerns about Student’s fine motor development and sensory processing.
- District recommended a new assessment plan to evaluate an additional area of suspected disability and presented the proposed occupational therapy assessment plan to Parent within time, but Parent did not give consent to the assessment.
- Parent’s refusal to sign the very occupational therapy assessment she is seeking defeats her claim for relief on this issue.