The list of clients below is the result of work and the mission that the Learning Rights Law Center sets forth to assist families everyday. Read their stories and learn how the fight became a victory.
Xander is a bright, seven-year-old student with autism who experiences difficulties staying on task, transitioning between activities, and interacting with his peers. Xander’s mom, currently a beginning TIGER , with our support, Xander will now have the behavior support he needs to make progress. The last time we spoke with Xander’s family, we learned that Xander had won his school spelling bee and had recently become an honor roll student. Xander’s parents were extremely grateful and much less worried because Xander would receive what he needed for an extended period of time.
At the 2014 A Cause for Celebration we learned about Xander's Story through his mother's experience with the Learning Rights Law Center. This video was shown during the Fund A Cause portion of our event for the Advocacy for Children with Autism Program. Watch Here
Nine-year-old Jake began the fifth grade with a first grader’s skillset. Although Jake was eligible for special education services, he does not have autism . Yet the school district had placed him in an autism classroom for the past four years, giving the excuse that the more appropriate placement was full and unavailable. Jake unfortunately had become a product of his education -- an education that deprived him of age-appropriate expressive and receptive language and articulation. In 2014, Learning Rights filed a Due Process Complaint on Jake’s behalf, alleging that the school district failed to provide a free and appropriate public education. Because of Learning Rights’ advocacy, Jake is now attending a well-regarded nonpublic school, and together with compensatory education services, he is finally making significant and positive academic strides.
Aaron was an articulate and gifted high school student about to turn 18 whose needs were dramatically changing. A genetically inherited progressive disease - Retinitis Pigmentosa - was slowly turning Aaron blind and, with the diagnosis, came depression that gradually diminished Aaron’s success in school. Unwilling to waste resources on a student so soon approaching adulthood, the school district ignored Aaron and his difficult predicament. Fortunately, Learning Rights knew that Aaron was legally entitled to appropriate assessments and services, and filed a Due Process Complaint on his behalf. The case was settled immediately, and Aaron obtained appropriate services and accommodations. As a result, Aaron stayed in his gifted classes successfully, and perhaps more importantly, discovered the types of resources that enable him to pursue a meaningful life even with a serious disability.
Georgio is a nine-year-old boy with autism who was known to his classmates as “the pest.” Georgio regularly came home from school with holes in his shirt and torn collars from playground scuffles. Having to deal with this antagonistic school environment, Georgio became anxious, lonely and occasionally aggressive. And yet, the school never offered any mental health or socialization services or support. In short, Georgio was left to fend for himself. That is, until Georgio’s parents sought help from Learning Rights. Learning Rights requested a new social emotional assessment for Georgio. Ultimately, Learning Rights settled the case, guaranteeing numerous education services that enable Giorgio to enjoy going to school and succeed as a student.
As a singer, dancer, church volunteer, and aspiring pediatrician, Kelsey is quite an exceptional sixteen-year-old. She devotes hours to assisting young children with developmental disabilities, despite having such diagnoses as autism, ADHD, and Impulse Control Disorder herself. Kelsey’s success is largely attained through the help of a behavioral aide. And yet, over the last several years, Kelsey’s behavior services have been reduced by her school district, resulting in an increase in inappropriate behavior. In the spring of 2009 Kelsey failed every class. Consequently, the district reduced Kelsey’s education services from a typical full time program to a mere six hours of instruction weekly. Learning Rights filed a Due Process Complaint to ensure that Kelsey received a full time educational program with the appropriate supports so that she could succeed in school. Learning Rights was victorious. Now Kelsey can once again pursue her dream to become a pediatrician and heal the world’s children.
Arianna is a bright foster youth who has attended gifted classes her entire life – that is, until she arrived at a new group home. Arianna was summarily placed at an on-grounds nonpublic school meant exclusively for emotionally disturbed special needs youth, the most restrictive special education setting possible. Breaching numerous procedural protections, the agency that conducted her placement-assessment had no concern for Arianna’s needs – only for the monetary benefit they would receive for enrolling Arianna in that school. Learning Rights filed a Due Process Complaint and went to trial to fight the assumption that Arianna was disabled and emotionally disturbed just because she was a foster youth. Since then, Arianna has been reunited with her father and because of Learning Rights’ advocacy she has returned full time to a regular public school. Arianna is thriving and not receiving any unneeded special education.
Yoon is an eleven year-old boy with autism. A year ago his family moved into a new county, leaving behind a school district that had long provided Yoon with the necessary services. The new school district had a drastically different attitude about this student and his family and failed to provide Yoon’s Korean speaking parents with adequate translation, ignoring their repeated requests for documents in a language they could understand. Yoon was only one of few Korean descent students in his new school and faced discriminatory treatment from administrators. Forced to tolerate this difficult school environment, Yoon began to engage in self-injurious and aggressive behaviors. Eventually, he was suspended. The district viewed Yoon as a disciplinary problem, paying no attention to his need for special services. Learning Rights took his case and fought for Yoon to have English language instruction and the appropriate services, which he now is receiving. Yoon is now thriving in school and his parents now are receiving pertinent educational information translated to their native language.
Noah has severe autism, yet for the past several years he has been labeled by his school as having a learning disability. As a 7th grader he was beaten up and harassed nearly every day due to his social awkwardness; in addition he had the reading and writing ability of a 1st grader. When the school district finally recognized Noah’s autism, they refused to change his placement or to provide specialized services. Noah’s frustrated parents contacted Learning Rights for assistance. Due to Learning Rights’ advocacy, Noah is now in an autism-specific nonpublic school and receives compensatory services in the areas of speech, language and behavior. Today, Noah, though still shy, looks you in the eye, can greet you with a smile and have a polite verbal exchange. He says he is happy to be at his new school and feels like he is in a place where he can start to learn.
At the age of 18, Julian functioned at the level of a six year-old and read on a second grade level. He did not know how to handle money or go out on his own. This is because, despite having both cerebral palsy and physical and speech delays, his learning disability was the major academic impediment and it was never identified. In the summer of 2011, Julian received his high school diploma – still unable to function independently. Special needs students have the right to receive special education until the age of 22. Julian’s mother’s pleas to the school district for continued special education went unheeded, and so she turned to Learning Rights for assistance. With Learning Rights’ help, Julian received a multitude of benefits. Julian is now entitled to 18 months of full-time enrollment in the East LA College Career and Transition Services Program, a transition assessment, one-on-one tutoring, speech therapy, reimbursement, and a re-issuing of his high school diploma. Learning Rights’ advocacy on his behalf offered Julian the opportunity to start his life as an independent adult.
Scott is a 21 year-old student with high-functioning autism. His school district had not evaluated him since he was 5 years old. Although his initial testing showed an average intelligence, the district placed him in a curriculum well below his intellectual ability. Due to this inappropriate placement, Scott suffered greatly both socially and academically. As a result of the advocacy offered by Learning Rights, Scott received a new evaluation that placed his reading comprehension at the 2nd grade level, confirming that he had been academically neglected and was performing well below his true abilities. Learning Rights was then able to secure several hours per week of additional transition planning services and intensive, research-based reading remediation that will help Scott acquire the many skills he needs before he graduates from the public education system.
Annalise is a 13 year-old girl with autism and hydrocephalus, a condition causing the build-up of fluid in the brain. Throughout her educational life she was dumped into a special education center exclusively for children with significant disabilities. Annalise’s unique needs were never addressed. As a result of her nonexistent access to typically developing peers in school, Annalise’s communication skills, social skills, and academics have been severely stunted. Additionally, she learned inappropriate behaviors from her more severely disabled peers, including self-injury, which her school ignored. Learning Rights stepped in and secured compensatory speech and language services by a private agency, compensatory occupational therapy services, a one-on-one aide during unstructured periods, an independent comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation, and an independent behavioral evaluation by a licensed psychologist who was chosen by Annalise’s mother. Learning Rights continues to monitor the outcome of this case to make sure the school district continues to provide the required assessments, placement and services for Annalise. Learning Rights is working with the family to help Annalise to become as independent as possible.