School District To Pay $1.55 Million For Allegedly Denying ABA Therapy
by Fernando Alba, Syracuse.com/TNS June 23, 2023
North Syracuse, N.Y. - The North Syracuse Central School District has settled a lawsuit that claimed school staff fell short in providing a student with autism proper resources and care. The case settled for $1.55 million, said Carlo de Oliveira, the lawyer who represented the family and their child. School officials declined to comment on the lawsuit and settlement, saying it does not comment on litigation. The lawsuit did not identify the student. The family sued in 2018, when their son was 5. The lawsuit said the district declined to provide a therapy known as applied behavior analysis and a teaching assistant trained to provide the therapy. By not providing the care, the lawsuit said the district violated federal law that ensures students with disabilities have equal access to education. The student was nonverbal with limited motor, cognitive and social skills, according to the lawsuit. The family believed a limited window of opportunity to address their child’s disability closed when the school refused to provide the therapy, de Oliveira said. The district insisted on using a different methodology, de Oliveira said. The case went to a trial and settled by its fourth day in June, according to court filings. de Oliveira said the family expects the money will be used largely for expenses related to their child’s long-term care. It is unlikely he will develop language skills, de Oliveira said. The district is facing a second lawsuit by parents of a student with autism. The lawsuit, filed in April in federal court, claims staff strapped a nonverbal 5-year-old girl to a chair every school day for five months during the 2021-22 school year. The girl had trouble staying seated and paying attention in the classroom, the lawsuit said. A teacher would strap her to a chair to keep her seated, according to the lawsuit.
Medicaid Aims to Serve Adults with IDD, Aging Caregivers
by Michelle Diament: June 22, 2023
Upwards of a million U.S. households include an adult with intellectual and developmental disabilities who’s supported by an aging caregiver and that number is expected to grow. Now, Medicaid officials are making a push to better meet their needs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is issuing a collection of new resources to help state Medicaid and partner agencies as they design and deliver services for this burgeoning demographic. Across four documents, the agency is offering guidance on how states can anticipate the needs of adults with IDD and their caregivers as they get older and tips on devising policies and practices to support these needs and promote person-centered planning. In addition, CMS is highlighting innovative strategies that states are already employing that could be replicated in other places. The documents point to various data sources including Social Security’s Disabled Adult Child program, which many adults with developmental disabilities qualify for, that could help states forecast future demand for home and community-based services. CMS is also encouraging states to consider outreach to caregivers and other strategies such as reserving slots in their Medicaid waiver program for people with IDD who have aging caregivers. With the shift away from institutions in recent decades, the needs of adults with developmental disabilities and their aging caregivers are becoming more urgent, officials said. They cite data showing that between 1998 and 2018, the number of people with IDD who received Medicaid home and community-based services while living with family jumped 143%. Moreover, officials noted that of the 7.43 million people with IDD estimated to be in the U.S. as of 2018, only 21% were receiving services from or otherwise known to their state IDD agency. “People with I/DD not currently served by state I/DD agencies may first interact with state systems when they are in crisis (e.g., after a parent’s sudden death or decline in health) and, as a result of their urgent circumstances, may end up with less desirable and/or more costly services,” according to information in the new resource documents. “State Medicaid and partner agencies can better support adults with I/DD who have aging caregivers by proactively planning in the present and for the future, when new supports are needed, and, when possible, before a crisis happens.”