Special Education Hearing Officer
Child’s Name: R.Q.
Date of Birth: [redacted]
ODR No. 00621-0910 AS
Parties to the Hearing: Parent[s]
Wissahickon School District 601 Knight Road
Ambler, PA 19002-3441
Gary S. Mayerson, Esquire 330 West 38th Street, Suite 600 New York, New York 10018
Scott H. Wolpert, Esquire Timoney Knox, LLP
400 Maryland Drive
P.O. Box 7544
Fort Washington, PA 19034-7544
Date of Resolution Session January 19, 2010
Dates of Hearing: March 26, 2010, April 20, 2010, April 30, 2010, May 18, 2010, June 2, 2010
Record Closed: June 29, 2010
Date of Decision: July 9, 2010
Hearing Officer: William F. Culleton, Jr., Esquire
Student is a teen-aged eligible resident of the Wissahickon School District (District); Student is identified with Mental Retardation and Autism. (NT 12-21 to 14-7; S-3 p. 20.)1 Student is presently enrolled at the [redacted] Center in [redacted], Pennsylvania. (NT 76-14 to 21.) Center is a private school for children with autism; Center follows the principles of applied Behavior Analysis. (NT 309-19 to 25.) The Student has never attended school in the District. (NT 76-22 to 25.)
Parents seek reimbursement of Center tuition for the 2009-2010 school year, asserting that the District failed to offer an appropriate program for the Student, for several reasons: 1) its offer was not timely; 2) the District predetermined the location of services to be in District facilities rather than in Center; 3) the offered program did not include an appropriate plan for transition from Center to a District facility; 4) the plan did not address the Student’s behaviors adequately; 5) the offered program failed to address the Student’s need for direct, explicit, one-to-one instruction during the entire school day and frequent community access as a reinforcer; 6) the District failed to offer coordinated home programming, shorter breaks in formal instruction during holidays and summer, material information on the District’s ESY program, and assistance to Parents in providing continuity of instruction at home.
The District asserts that it offered an appropriate program in timely fashion, and that any delay in offering its program was due to delays either occasioned by the Parents’ schedule or that of Center. It contends that its offered program was appropriate, addressed the Student’s educational and behavioral needs, and offered the least restrictive appropriate setting for addressing the Student’s needs. It contends that the Center program fails to address various educational needs, such as placement in the least restrictive environment, development of social skills and qualified services from related service providers.
- Did the District offer to provide a free appropriate public education to the Student through an appropriate program and placement in the least restrictive appropriate environment for the 2009-2010 school year?
- Was Center an appropriate placement for the Student for the 2009-2010 school year?
- Should the hearing officer order the District to pay the cost of tuition and transportation of the Student on account of Student’s attendance at Center for the 2009-2010 school year?