Learning Rights obtains more than 100 special education due process settlements for its clients annually. However, unless a Learning Rights’ staff member stays on the case to assist the parent with implementing the settlement, legal victories often do not translate into client victories. Won services and placements on paper may not manifest in the life of that special needs child. This was the case with Evelyn.
Evelyn is a 17–year old student with a learning disability and autism spectrum disorder. Evelyn struggles with attention and social communication. Evelyn was also recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Evelyn lives with her mother and brother at their home in East Los Angeles. She enjoys art, drawing and playing games. She also spends time writing fan fiction. Evelyn's mother came to Learning Rights for the first time in 2012 because she did not believe that the services being offered to Evelyn were adequate and Evelyn was failing to make progress in school. Evelyn's mother asked the school district for more services (which Evelyn was entitled to by law) and additional evaluations of Evelyn, but she was largely ignored.
Learning Rights advocated on Evelyn's behalf and as a result of the special education due process settlement, she was entitled to more than 10 hours per week of individualized instruction from a special education teacher. The District also agreed to conduct assessments in the areas of social-emotional function and speech and language. Evelyn also received compensatory tutoring services, speech and language and counseling and guidance services.
However, following the settlement of her due process complaint, Learning Rights kept Evelyn's case open so it could assist her parents with implementation of the settlement’s terms. During the course of settlement implementation, Learning Rights identified, as is common in many cases, that non-compliance continued with the new IEP. The school staff failed to provide Evelyn with all of the required services. In addition, they were failing to adequately record and document the provision of services to Evelyn. Learning Rights had to file three compliance complaints with the California Department of Education to ensure that Evelyn received the full benefit of the settlement agreement obtained on her behalf.
Won services have already made a huge difference in the life of a unique learner like Evelyn. Evelyn is happier and doing much better in school. She tells us: “Individualized instruction is helping me so much. I am able to concentrate better and as a result, my grades have gone up!”