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Homebound Services: Two Hours a Week = FAPE?

06/18/08
by Pete Wright

Recently, someone asked a question about homebound services, whether the law limits the time for direct instruction. Here’s the question…

My daughter is on home bound services and the special education director insists that by law the school district is only required to provide 2 hours of services a week, regardless of what the IEP team decides.

The child currently receives 112 1/2 minutes of math, 112 1/2 minutes of language arts and 56 1/4 minutes of geography & science a week. That is nowhere near the amount of time she needs to learn the same information as her junior high school peers.

The spec ed director is wrong.

Issues of homebound are determined in part by state law and state regs, if any, on the subject. IDEA 2004 and the federal regs provide no guidance on this issue.

However the IEP controls the services, regardless of where they are delivered – at home or in the public school.

In your discussion with the special ed director, did you use our “Columbo / Ms. Manners” strategy, ask lots of 5 W’s+H+E questions, and politely ask for a copy of the law that limits the time for services delivered in the home?

When the special ed director failed to provide a copy of the law, did you follow up with a very nice letter reiterating what she said and repeating your request for the law? Remember, if it’s not in writing, it was never said.

I had a case several years ago where, because of unique issues, the child was homebound. A private evaluator recommended that the child’s homebound services increase from 3 hours a day to 4 hours a day. While the school system initially balked, after the evaluator met with the staff the school then shifted its position and, at last report, was providing the child with 4 hours of homebound services a day. Why – because this is what the child required in order to receive FAPE, i.e., a free appropriate public education.

Shifting – it sounds like you need to learn how to present problems in a way that will motivate the decision-maker to want to right the wrong, instead of getting defensive and drawing their wagons in a circle.

Start by reading our article about the “Letter to the Stranger.”

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/Letter_to_Stranger.html

When you write a letter to document an event or make a request, you need to focus on both the content and on its visual appearance (readability). Use lots of carrier returns to separate paragraphs for easier reading.

I also suggest that you read a book by attorney Gerry Spence about oral persuasion entitled “How to Argue and Win Every Time.” Just go to Amazon and enter Gerry Spence in their search box.

It is not about arguing. That’s just the catchy title used by the publisher. Gerry Spence describes how to present problems so people in power do not feel defensive or attacked but see the problems through your eyes and want to help. He is about the best trial lawyer alive today.

Good luck,
Pete

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31 Comments on "Homebound Services: Two Hours a Week = FAPE?"


Paula
11/28/2014

After 3 suicide attempts, my bipolar & substance-abusing son is being referred to a long-term program that happens to be in our town. He is in his Senior year and has an IEP in place. The program works mostly with young men who have either dropped out or have graduated and they take courses at the local university or community college. I am wondering how to approach setting things up for my son. Is it possible that homebound services would be appropriate or should we pursue online education?

Marissa
10/11/2014

I have done everything suggested yet the school district still has not answered me with regard to providing me with the law, or anything else. Do you have case law that I can use to support my position that states a child can get more than 2 hours of homebound instruction? I have been battling with the school district since 2008 (it is now 2014) and my son belongs in the 8th grade but writes on a 2nd or 3rd grade level and needs reading comprehension remediation that is supported by neuropsychological reports as far back as 2008-2012 and present. The school district has gotten away with only providing him with 2 hours of homebound and has even failed to provide the tutors with his IEP and with Speech for an entire year. I tried hiring lawyers who only let me down as they are afraid to ruffle feathers. I am frustrated!

Kim
05/07/2014

Our child was in an accident leaving her with a femur fx and in a wheelchair and not able to go to school for at least a month. We have been to the school several times asking for assistance and have gotten none. We have been badgered by them as to why she it not there, even though we have given them the doctors slips and spoke with them personally. We have struggled to get her homework and still have not gotten what she needs. Very frustrated and discouraged

l bradley
04/02/2014

My child received homebound services and I was told that because they already received x amount of days they would be taken off homebound even though my child’s doctor is still requesting homebound services. Is there a limit, and can a school just decide to cancel homebound services? I have an upcoming meeting with the school and would like to know my options before going in. Is there some place I can look up state laws regarding this?

01/06/2014

Thank you so much for the Gerry Spence reference. I had never heard of him, but I plan to buy the book. We need these skills all the time to advocate for our children. (I now have children of my own in public schools but come from a background where I didn’t have parents able to advocate for me and had to fight for myself most of the time.)