Tag Archives: Dracut

Medway SEPAC to Host “What the Dracut Decision Taught Us About the Importance of Social Skills and Language Pragmatics in an IEP”

The Medway SEPAC will be hosting what should be a very interesting and informative presentation entitled “What the Dracut decision taught us about the Importance of Social Skills and Language Pragmatics in an IEP.”  It will take place on January 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM at Medway High School, 88 Summer Street Medway, Ma 02053.  The presentation will be free and open to the public.  If you plan to attend, you should RSVP to medwayspedpac@gmail.com.  Discussions will be led by Elsa Abele MS CCC/SLP & clinical Assistant Professor at Boston University & Professor at the Center For Autism Disorders at Antioch University.  The presentation will also feature two lawyers from the Disability Law Center of Massachusetts who worked on this case, Janine A. Solomon and Pamela J. Coveney.  The Dracut case is a very important BSEA decision in Massachusetts, particularly for those students on the Autism Spectrum.  If you would like to read a good summary of this case, you can access it here.  The complete BSEA decision can be found here.

The Law Office of James M. Baron represents students and parents in special education and other school-related legal matters throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Please visit http://www.lawbaron.com, or call 781-209-1166 for more information.

Federal Judge Saris Affirms that Dracut Denied FAPE to Asperger’s Student – Precedent Setting Case in Massachusetts

The long-awaited decision on the appeal of the Dracut case has just come down.  The following is from an email I received this morning from Massachusetts Advocates for Children:

Judge Patti Saris, US District Court, MA, has just decided the LEA’s appeal of two transition decisions in favor of a special education student with Asperger’s Syndrome.  Both administrative decisions, along with the federal Judge’s Memorandum and Order, appear on the Massachusetts Disability Law Center’s website, http://www.dlc-ma.org

The Judge affirmed the Hearing Officer’s finding that Dracut Public Schools (“Dracut”) had denied the student FAPE.  It had not performed timely assessments, as IDEA requires, inevitably leading to a failure to provide appropriate, measurable goals related to the student’s needs.  Of particular interest was the Judge’s observation that the student’s pragmatic language deficits were key to his postsecondary academic, social and vocational success and her characterization of Dracut’s failure to address those deficits as “egregious.”

The Judge did not affirm several of the Hearing Officer’s proposed remedies, however.  The HO had extended the student’s special education eligibility, for example, while simultaneously directing that he receive his diploma.  The Hearing Officer also ordered the LEA to hire and compensate two of the testifying experts to collaborate on creating and implementing a Transition Service Plan.  The Judge ruled that this exceeded the HO’s equitable authority and further remanded the matter for additional consideration of the necessary compensatory services.

Please visit my web site for more information about the Law Office of James M. Baron: http://www.lawbaron.com.