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Student v. Gregory Portland ISD, Dkt. No. 024-SE-0915 (Hearing Officer Lynn E. Rubinett, March 25, 2016).

Facts:  The student was diagnosed with autism and was eligible for special education services under the categories of other health impairment and speech impairment.  The parents requested a due process hearing, claiming that the District denied the student a free appropriate public education (FAPE) by providing only consultative Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services through the student’s teacher, who was not a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).  The record showed that a BCBA visited the student’s classroom at least once per month for several hours to make recommendations to the student’s teacher.  The parents claimed that the student’s ABA services were not provided in a coordinated and collaborative manner by key stakeholders, which denied the student FAPE.

Holding:  The hearing officer disagreed with the parents.  The evidence did not support the parents’ contention that the teacher did not properly collaborate with the BCBA.  Input by the BCBA provider was allowed during the student’s ARD meetings, and the teacher tried to observe the student and BCBA.  The evidence supported the District’s contention that the student made significant progress, both academically and non-academically.  The parents contended that the student could have made better progress.  However, according to the hearing officer, the district was not required to increase the rate of the student’s level of progress, as long as the student’s program provided the student FAPE.   Here, the lack of direct ABA services to the student during the school day did not result in the denial of FAPE.  The student’s IEP was reasonably calculated to provide educational benefit, as the services were provided in a coordinated and collaborative manner by the key stakeholders and positive academic and non-academic benefits to the student were demonstrated.

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