Special Education Hearing Officer
ODR No. 15253-1415AS
Child’s Name: N.K.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
Date of Hearing: 9/12/14
Parties to the Hearing:
School District Wallingford-Swarthmore 200 S. Providence Road Wallingford, PA 19086
Parent Attorney None
School District Attorney Lawrence Dodds, Esquire
Blue Bell Executive Campus 460 Norristown Road, Suite 110 Blue Bell, PA 19422-2326
Date Record Closed: October 1, 2014
Date of Decision: October 20, 2014
Hearing Officer: Anne L. Carroll, Esq.
INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Student and an older sibling, both identified as IDEA eligible due to an autism spectrum disorder and speech/language impairment, were also eligible for ESY for the summer of 2014. Parents approved the ESY NOREP in the early spring of 2014, and Student began attending the District ESY program in early July. Student’s ESY program consisted of academic instruction in the morning, followed by lunch and an afternoon session focusing on social skills instruction and practice. Student was also to be provided with occupational therapy (OT) and speech/language therapy during the ESY program. The morning session for academic instruction was open to non-disabled peers who needed additional practice in reading, writing and math skills, but the afternoon session (extended day program) was provided only to IDEA eligible students for whom social skills instruction was part of their ESY program.
Because Parents were dissatisfied with the transportation the District provided to the ESY program, and with the social skills component delivered during the extended day program, particularly the peer group, they withdrew Student from the District ESY program after three days and substituted a private summer program that included academic instruction and the opportunity for peer social contacts through recreational activities.
After the District refused Parents’ request for reimbursement for the summer program they selected, Parents filed a due process complaint to recover their cost. Because Parents produced insufficient evidence that the District’s ESY program was inappropriate for Student, rather than less desirable than the private program, and because the private summer program did not include formal social skills instruction, identified as an ESY need for Student, Parents’ reimbursement claim must be denied.
1. Did the District fail to provide an appropriate ESY Program for Student in that:
a. the transportation provided by the District was inappropriate, and
b. there was insufficient contact with peers with whom Student could practice appropriate social skills?
2. Did the District fail to sufficiently permit and consider Parent input into selecting the ESY program?
3. If the District ESY program was inappropriate, should the District be ordered to reimburse Parents for the private summer program that they selected and substituted for the District ESY program?N-K-Wallingford-Swarthmore-ODRNo-15253-1415AS