Parent Victories: A Win for 1:1 Help in the Home!
We could all use more good news these days, and what better way to lift each other’s spirits than by sharing our parenting victories, large and small! Whether these wins are personal or on a local, national, or worldwide scale, we want to hear ’em — send your stories to email@example.com or share with your navigators!
This week, we’re celebrating a recent case in Alameda County, California, where a judge allowed a SpEd distance learning student to receive the at-home 1:1 support listed in her IEP, which had been denied to her due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders.
- In the lawsuit (Parent on Behalf of Student v. Pleasanton Unified School District, Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Services and Alameda County Office of Education), a student’s parent sought a “stay put” order, meaning a continuation of the 1:1 services listed in her most recently agreed-upon IEP that had been established before the coronavirus pandemic. The parent argued that without these essential 1:1 services (which included speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, adapted physical education, specialized vision services, and a health care plan administered by a full-time at-home nurse), she was not provided with a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
- The District and Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) argued that the student’s new Distance Learning Plan, which did not include in-person services, was “feasible in light of the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” They also argued that the California Department of Public Health’s July 2020 guidelines prevented them from delivering in-person services.
- On August 24, the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) ruled in favor of the student, granting the Motion to Stay Put and ordering that the district continue to provide in-person services listed in her last agreed-upon IEP. The decision was possible in part thanks to the California Dept. of Ed’s recent move to categorize nurses and nurse aides, physical and occupational therapists, social workers, and speech pathologists as essential workers, so California’s stay-at-home order does not prevent them from providing services listed in a student’s IEP.
- The OAH also specified that the district does not have to provide in-person services on campus or with school staff, but can instead contract service providers through a non-public agency.
Let’s hope this victory will help along those of us also working to get our kids access to 1:1 aides and services through their district!