Illinois School District Should Have Addressed Student's Auditory Processing and Assistive Technology Needs

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 In City of Chicago School District 299, 57 IDELR 29, (SEA  Il 2011) an 8th Grade boy  with specific learning disabilities exhibited problems with reading, writing, listening, and integrating sensory information. In fact, he had exhibited some of these problems as early as 1st Grade. Unfortunately, despite repeated red flags that the student needed additional support, the school district did not evaluate his auditory processing and assistive technology (AT) needs. Moreover, the district failed to write adequate, measurable goals on his IEP. Thus he was placed in general education classes without adequate support. Dissatisfied, the parent obtained  independent educational evaluations (IEEs) that indicated the student needed AT in order to read and write, occupational therapy, and intensive services related to reading, writing, listening, and auditory processing.  Since she believed the school district's evaluations were inaccurate and inadequate, the parent had asked the school district to support paying for the IEEs, but her requests were ignored. Since the school district was not forthcoming in resolving these issues, the parent then requested a due process hearing to obtain appropriate services for her son.

The hearing officer found in the parent's favor. Based on the IEEs and testimony, the hearing officer determined the district had not done adequate or frequent assessments of his auditory processing and AT needs and it had not reviewed all of the information the parent provided, including the information from the IEEs. Thus, the district's IEP was based on inadequate evaluation information. This resulted in the continued use of an unsuccessful reading methodology and a deficient IEP, with goals that were (1) too few and (2) unmeasurable.

Finally, the Hearing Officer granted the parent's request to place her son in a private therapeutic placement for students with significant learning disabilities. Additionally, the hearing officer ordered the school district to reimburse the parent for the cost of the IEEs and to provide her son with compensatory educational services.