Children’s Law Project
All names have been changed and stories have been generalized
Thirteen-year-old Emma is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and experiences symptoms of depression, anxiety, and mood instability. Despite receiving accommodations and supportive services under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), she was struggling in school and started refusing to go. Her school district moved her to a classroom program in a special school, outside of her District. Her new classroom only contained students with disabilities, many of whom experienced violent behavioral outbursts. Emma regressed both socially and academically in this setting. She desperately wanted to return to her home school and to interact with her non-disabled peers at times during her school day. Through advocacy for a change in her classroom placement and changes to her IEP, Emma was moved back into an in-district classroom with additional supports on a trial basis. However, the school district wanted to conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and develop a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) to help manage her behavioral needs in school. Emma thrived in her new placement and made social and academic progress. With the right accommodations and supports, she did not need a special school or behavior plan.
Joe is an intelligent High Schooler with a language disability that had gone unaddressed by his school district. His mother expressed concerns to the school district regarding his writing abilities since elementary school, but the District did not treat her complaints as a referral for accommodations. As a result of his disabilities, Joe struggles to write at grade level and began refusing to complete writing tasks. His grades started to decline due to his difficulties with writing and maintaining attention. CLP successfully represented him in a Section 504 initial eligibility determination. As a result, Joe received accommodations such as speech to text software, permission to type assignments, scribe services, extra time for handwritten assignments, and testing accommodations.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
Ten-year-old David was the victim of child abuse and suffered from extreme PTSD resulting in public breakdowns and difficulty engaging is school, yet his application for SSI had been denied. CLP secured voluminous mental health and education records and submitted a brief detailing David’s functional limitations as a result of his disability. Both the client and his mother were very anxious about testifying, but careful hearing preparation allowed each to tell their story and provide the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) with detailed information about his daily struggles and limitations. David was awarded more than $20,000 in retroactive benefits and receives on-going monthly SSI benefits.