Home-Based Instruction And Whether An Automatic Decrease In Hours Of Service Is Appropriate
I wanted to comment on an issue that arose in a case I handled recently. I think it exemplifies the type of difficulties a parent may sometimes have with a school district when the district is firm in taking a certain position that the parent, instinctively, knows cannot possibly be justified. In short, the case involved a young child with autism who was in need of an appropriate preschool program. Initially, the CPSE had convened and been relatively generous with the family - recommending full-time special education instruction along with an intensive diet of related services. At some point in the case, it became clear that the child's medical needs required home-based instruction and the parent provided supporting medical documentation. Despite participation from various professionals who had worked with and intimately understood the child's needs, the CPSE essentially cut those services in half. The district stated that, if it was a home-based program, it was constrained by a maximum number of hours that it simply could not exceed.
I don't know what legal support they thought they had for this position and I can tell you that they did not provide any such legal support to the parent. All the professionals involved in this child's life agreed and painstakingly explained that the child required intensive services in order to have any chance of making progress, and the reduced level proposed by the district would not be anywhere near what was required. To make a long story short, it took the threat of an impartial hearing to compel the school district to provide the amount of hours that the child actually needed. No impartial hearing was necessary because the matter was resolved once our office intervened and reminded the district that its position was not supported by the law. This type of situation is not uncommon and parents should be aware of what the law does and does not say so that they can properly deal with school districts in situations of this kind.