FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterestEmailFor the first time in more than three decades, the U.S. Supreme Court says it will consider how much educational benefit schools must provide students receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
The nation’s high court said Thursday that it will hear arguments in a matter known as Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District.
At issue is the IDEA’s mandate that public schools provide children with disabilities a free appropriate public education, or FAPE.
The case was brought by parents known in court papers as Joseph F. and Jennifer F. who pulled their son with autism out of his Colorado school district and sent him to a private school. They then sought reimbursement from the Douglas County School District arguing that the boy, Drew, was not provided FAPE.
Both a hearing officer and the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado found in favor of the school district, saying that FAPE was provided because the boy received “some” educational benefit.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit agreed prompting the parents to appeal to the Supreme Court, citing differing standards from courts across the country.
“Some courts, including the Tenth Circuit … hold that an IEP satisfies the (IDEA) if it provides a child with a just-above-trivial educational benefit, while others hold that the act requires a heightened educational benefit,” the parents said in their petition to the Supreme Court. “Resolving the conflict among the circuits will ensure that millions of children with disabilities receive a consistent level of education, while providing parents and educators much-needed guidance regarding their rights and obligations.”
The Douglas County School District argued that it would be up to lawmakers to impose a higher standard in asking the high court to decline the case.
The Supreme Court’s decision to take up the matter comes at the urging of the Obama administration. In a brief issued last month, the U.S. solicitor general agreed with the parents that the IDEA requires schools to provide more than minimal benefit to students with disabilities.
“This court should hold that states must provide children with disabilities educational benefits that are meaningful in light of the child’s potential and the IDEA’s stated purposes. Merely aiming for non-trivial progress is not sufficient,” the solicitor general indicated.
The case will mark the first time since 1982 that the Supreme Court has addressed the FAPE mandate.
However, it’s not the only special education matter the high court plans to weigh.
The Supreme Court said this summer that it will hear the case of a Michigan girl with cerebral palsy who sought to bring her service dog to school, which centers on whether families must exhaust their options under the IDEA when they have a dispute with schools before seeking remedies under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Posted December 1, 2016 Autism Society
This guest post is from Kerry Magro, an adult with autism who has become a national speaker, best-selling author and one of the first television talk show hostson the autism spectrum. Magro is also on the Panel of People on the Spectrum of Autism for the Autism Society. You can learn more about Kerry on Facebookand Twitter.
One issue, in my opinion, that isn’t addressed enough on college campuses, is accommodations within the residence halls for those with disabilities. Yes, from time to time you will see a residence hall with an elevator, maybe bed shakers for those who are hearing impaired, but does that make a residence hall “disability friendly?” I don’t think so. A disability friendly residence hall should be accommodating to all disabilities, especially autism.
For people just starting college, living away in a dorm can be a difficult transition. For an individual with autism who is affected drastically by change it can make that transition almost impossible. The argument to this is that those affected by autism that actually attends college are just a small enough quota where it doesn’t really matter. The thing is, most accommodations for those with autism in the dorms just rely on having a good and understanding friend. It’s easy in college to fall into a pattern of anti-social tendencies when work builds up on you.
I have seen this from every angle imaginable. My freshman year in the dorms, I was a resident. During my sophomore and half of my junior year, I was a Resident Assistant (RA) who helped residents while living in the dorms. Living in the residence halls wasn’t much of a difficulty for me, but that was because I had great friends early on who supported me in everything that I did. Being able to socially get my way through that first year, where I was seen as enough of a leader to be one of the only autistic RA’s not only in New Jersey, but also in the country.
So what can autistic individuals living in the dorms do to make themselves ready for the transition? Firstly, strongly consider requesting a single room. Most colleges are very willing to give someone with a registered disability a single. I have lived alone and have loved the benefits. Mainly, the best benefit is that you have your own place to unwind. You don’t have to worry about whether you get along with other individuals. The pros outweigh the cons in most cases.
Secondly, make sure you get yourself out there. Most residence halls have programs within the first couple of weeks of school to get people meeting your fellow peers. Most residence halls will also have a peer support group for those with disabilities where you can interact with others who have similar difficulties within the dorms. We also live in a technology related world, so if you don’t feel comfortable with face-to-face conversations, virtual communication (Facebook, instant messaging, texting) is a great way to practice your social capabilities. Just make sure it doesn’t become a habit, if you are never leaving your room!
Take some time to meet with the director of your dorm. If you are open with them about having a disability, they can’t turn you away, and have to give you proper accommodations. You need to force yourself out of your comfort zone because that’s where the most progress can be made.
Now, this is a process. There is no game plan to every disability. You have to create your own plan of attack. Independence is not learned overnight either, so take the steps needed to make your own personal plan and then follow through.
This blog originally appeared on Kerrymagro.com here