building amp maintaining a legally compliant autism

Building & Maintaining a Legally Compliant Autism Program Jan - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Building & Maintaining a Legally Compliant Autism Program Jan Tomsky, Esq., & Wes Parsons, Esq., Fagen Friedman Fulfrost, LLP Mary Schillinger, Asst. Supt. & Brandie Rosen, Prog. Sp. Las Virgenes Unified School District Welcome

  1. Building & Maintaining a Legally Compliant Autism Program Jan Tomsky, Esq., & Wes Parsons, Esq., Fagen Friedman Fulfrost, LLP Mary Schillinger, Asst. Supt. & Brandie Rosen, Prog. Sp. Las Virgenes Unified School District

  2. Welcome & Agenda  Legal Issues & Standards  Evolution of an Autism Program  Key Elements  Building Capacity  Training  LRE & ABA  Legal Standards  Effective Interventions 2

  3. Las Virgenes Unified School District  ADA 12,000  Four Cities / Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Hidden Hills, in Southern California  15 schools including two comprehensive high schools  SPED population 1,350  Affluent Community – High Achieving Students  State Accountability Scores in 800s and 900s 3

  4. LVUSD Autism Percentage (CA State Ave. is 8.8%) 4

  5. Hide! 5

  6. Ignore! 6

  7. Prepare …. 7

  8. What we found….  When we’re prepared, ultimately our costs were reduced! 8

  9. 9

  10. District Costs vs Parent Payouts (Not Actuals) 10

  11. We Defend Our Programs Break a “Pay Em to Go Away” cycle! 11

  12. Develop a Strategic Plan  Analyze your Due Process Filings  Compare your programs to best practices  Do a Gap Analysis  Build Capacity for Training  Implement and Support  Weed  Practices  Personnel 12

  13. Self Study Guide 13

  14.  LRP Publications  14

  15. National Standards Project 15

  16. The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders Evidence-Based Behavioral Positive Behavioral Strategies Supports  Prompting  Functional behavior assessment  Reinforcement  Functional communication  Task analysis training  Time delay  Stimulus control/  Computer-aided instruction environmental modification  Discrete trial training  Response  Naturalistic interventions interruption/redirection  Parent-implemented  Extinction interventions  Differential reinforcement 16

  17. The National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders Confirmed Evidence-Based Structured Work Systems Peer-Mediated Instruction/Intervention  PECS  Video modeling  Pivotal response training  Visual supports  Self-management  VOCA/speech-generating devices  Social narratives  Social skills training groups 17

  18. National Research Council  National Academy Press (2001)   Promo code!  LRPM10  ISBN: 0-309-07269-7 18

  19. Autism Internet Modules (AIM) 19

  20. What could we do??? 20

  21. The Legal Standard & Cases Current Legal Standard for Comprehensive Programs for Students with Autism 21

  22. Overview  Challenges to the Rowley standard  The Methodology Debate  Least restrictive environment 22

  23. Remember Rowley !  The U.S. Supreme Court’s standard re: FAPE:  Is the IEP reasonably calculated to provide educational benefit?  Did the district comply with the IDEA’s procedural safeguards? Board of Educ. of the Hendrick Hudson Cent. Sch. Dist. v. Rowley 553 IDELR 656 (1982) 23

  24. J.L. v. Mercer Island School District  Rowley alive and well, despite IDEA 1997 definition of transition services as an “outcome- oriented process”  To offer a FAPE, district must offer a “basic floor of opportunity” that is “reasonably calculated” to provide the student with “educational benefit” 24

  25.  Ninth Circuit rejected argument that IDEA now requires that districts guarantee some level of “outcome”  “Had Congress sought to change the…’education benefit’ standard…it would have expressed a clear intent to do so. J.L. and M.L. ex rel K.L. v. Mercer Island Sch. Dist. 53 IDELR 280 (9 th Cir. 2009) 25

  26. Lachman v. Illinois State Bd. Of Educ. “Parents, no matter how well motivated, do not have a right…to compel a school district to provide a specific program or employ a specific methodology” Lachman v. Illinois State Bd. Of Educ., 441 IDELR 156 (7 th Cir 1988) 26


  28. Joshua A. v. Rocklin Unified Sch. Dist.  Student’s IEP called for in-home ABA program  District recommended an “eclectic” school- based autism program  Parent claimed district’s program denied FAPE because it was not supported by peer-reviewed research 28

  29. Joshua A. v. Rocklin Unified Sch. Dist.  Eclectic approach was based on peer- reviewed research “to the extent practicable”  More significantly, IEP was tailored to student’s unique needs and offered basic floor opportunity Joshua A. v. Rocklin Unified Sch. Dist., 52 IDELR 64 (9 th Cir. 2009) 29


  31. Solano Beach Sch. Dist.  Preschooler with normal cognition  Weaknesses in socialization, expressive language  Experienced anxiety in large group  District proposed  Special education preschool in am  General education preschool in pm, supported by a 1:1 aide 31

  32. Solano Beach Sch. Dist.  Administrative law judge: Neither aspect of the offer was appropriate  Special Education classroom:  Would address her instructional needs  But did not provide access to typical peers  Was not the least restrictive environment 32

  33. Solano Beach Sch. Dist.  General education classroom:  Would provide access to typical peers  But, was inappropriate  Class structure  Number of students  Multiple transitions would be overwhelming Solano Beach Sch. Dist., 49 IDELR 237 (SEA CA 2008) 33

  34. Keys to Comprehensive Programs 34

  35. 35

  36. Assessment  Assess in ALL Areas  Social Behavior  Language and Nonverbal Communication  Adaptive Behavior  Motor Skills  Atypical Behaviors  Cognitive Status  Including Learning to Learn Skills 36

  37. Training in Assessment  Critical to train assessment teams in diagnosis of Autism!  Areas to assess (NRC check list)  Multiple observations by all assessors  Train to recognize “high functioning” Autism  Beware the “Quirky Kid” syndrome!! 37

  38. IEP Development  Parent Input!  Goals / Objectives in all areas as per NRC recommendations!  Don’t forget Social Skills Training & Learning to Learn Skills!  Thoughtful recommendation for methodology!  LRE with Typical Peers!  “Sufficient” Adult Attention – Intensity! 38

  39. Mind the Gaps!!! 39

  40. Connect the Dots  Complete Assessment ……….. leads to  Present levels ………… leads to  Goals ……………. leads to  Services ………………….  Gaps can cost you!! 40

  41. Systematically Implemented, Educational Services  The IEP outlines the “identified objectives”.  Ensure that ALL staff know the contents of the IEP !!!  Ensure that the child’s schedule reflects appropriate activities designed to meet the objectives. 41

  42. Autism Program

  43. The Evolution of the Autism Program  Historically- children with Autism were educated in an SDC or self-contained special education classrooms with other students with varied moderate to severe needs.  Over time, SDC classes evolved into Autism-specific SDC classes.  With the more systematic education of children with Autism in the SDC classrooms, the push for more inclusive opportunities became available.  SAI  A continuum of placement options including all of the options. 43

  44. Evolution of the Autism Programs 44

  45. Preschool Programs 45

  46. Recommendations of the National Research Council  Children should begin receiving specialized, intensive early intervention as soon as child is diagnosed w/ ASD or is suspected to be at risk for an ASD  Never delay intervention while awaiting an evaluation  Never “wait and see” 46

  47. Key Elements in Effective Programs 1. Sufficient hours/intensity of services 2. Comprehensible environments with access to typical peers 3. Specialized, appropriate curriculum (ABA) 4. Family involvement 5. Problem-solving approach to challenging behaviors 6. Appropriate evaluation tools to monitor progress 47

  48. Programs It is critical that a continuum of program options exist for pre-school age children, from intensive settings to more inclusive settings and the IEP team determines placement based on strong assessment and student individual need.  Home programming vs. school settings  S/L ½ day program  Early Childhood Classes  Special Day Classes 48

  49. Buttercup  We are a full inclusion program that meets the individual needs of typically developing children and children with special needs- side by side. 49

  50. Buttercup  Collaboration between all staff-  special educators and general education teachers  psychologist, behaviorists, speech and language specialists, occupational therapists, adaptive physical education teachers and trained instructional assistants. Provide specialized staff training in  Applied Behavior Analysis  Positive Reinforcement  Corrective Feedback  Systematic Feedback 50

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