D.L. v. District of Columbia – Child Find Class Action Case

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On November 16 2011, a federal judge issued a ruling in D.L. v. District of Columbia, (D.D.C., Civ. No. 05-1437). This is the latest in a series of federal court decisions that found serious deficiencies in the District of Columbia’s special education programs.

Judge Royce C. Lamberth held that the District of Columbia failed to identify, locate and evaluate hundreds of preschool children with disabilities, and failed to provide them with FAPE, a free appropriate public education as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

In his decision, Judge Lamberth wrote about the “narrow window of opportunity” when quality early intervention programs can work miracles.

Read the details –  School District’s Persistent Failures Cause “Severe and Lasting Harm” to Vulnerable Children with Disabilities

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A few minutes after I responded to your post, I read this:

“Rules Finally Issued on Infants, Toddlers With Disabilities” (refers to the federal regulations that govern special education to very young kids).

You can read it here: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2011/09/six_years_after_the_individual.html

Jamin: IDEA provides that young children (from birth to age 2) be identified, located, evaluated, and provided with appropriate special education and related services through an Individualized Family Service Plan. Very young children are evaluated with age-appropriate tests. As the Judge noted in his decision, there is a “window of opportunity” for children to learn specific skills. When schools take a “wait and see” approach, that window of opportunity may close before the child gets the help he or she needs.

Jamin

I am amazed that students as young as preschool can be evaluated as needing special education services. Many are so young and the skills they required to know are so limited that I am surprised any students can be qualified at that age.