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University deems student not disabled


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Joined: Dec 11, 2008
Posts: 4
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Posted Dec 11, 2008 at 5:20:07 PM
Subject: University deems student not disabled

Student diagnosed with fine motor incoordination at age 10. Received academic accommodations from 5th through 12th grades. Also extended time on ISEE, SAT, and ACT.

Student applied for academic accommodations in college. Asked for extended time on exams as unable to complete exams within timeframe.

Student refused accommodations by university student disabilities office on grounds that their experts deemed student not disabled.

OCR complaint filed and OCR responded by saying university deemed student not disabled so no law was broken.

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
Posts: 424

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Posted:Dec 12, 2008 4:29:43 PM

That sux,

My thought is this, get your own experts. Have them evaluate and write a report that is more accurate to the actual needs of the student. Show that to the university and tell them that you are prepared to fight them in court if you have to for the right to a level playing field for this student. Also, present all of the back paper work going back to original diagnosis and all through school. If they want to make it a fight, make it a fight. You will win. It sounds like they are full of crap.

But i really dunno what proper procedure is to be truthful this is just a suggestion based on what i consider common sense. ie one expert says 1 thing get an expert who says the opposite and let them have a duel of the experts and someone impartial can decide based on all the evidence for which all the university has is their expert where as you would have all the back reports on this student as well as the new expert hired to evaluate the student to present this more accurate perspective on said student. Someone else may have a better idea of how it is done. I hope so.

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Dec 15, 2008 9:21:46 AM

WCM14,

I read the posted facts of your problem. The issue is whether or not your child has an "Other Qualified Handicap" according to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and /or the American With Disabilities Act.

As you have proceeded to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights, you obviously have proceeded correctly to appeal your case. However, OCR has determined that the college has acted appropriately and the question is what is your recourse. Your recourse is now to "appeal" the decision of the college to the 504 Coordinator of the college. You have procedural saafeguards in these matters and for what it is worth you may exhaust them for remedy if deemed in your favor. Please note that the OCR is a significentb advocate for civil rights and are quite thorough in their opinions. If anything, they have consistently given deference to the appellant when there is reasonable doubt of the efforts of the defendant, this case the college. Hence, I think you ought to rely on the fairness of the opinion and proceed to achieve your goal differently.

As 504 is a civil rights law, your ultimate recourse is civil litigation against the college but the demonstration of proof is that the college has denied your child the opportunity to pursue a major life activity ( learning ) and that there has been some element of "harm" in this process of denial. Frankly and not truly knowing the complete facts of your situation, I don't sense you would be successful in a civil procedure.

If the concern is so compelling to you for your child and her success in her college courses, I would suggest you to address your concerns with each of the professors of the courses that may be problematic for your child. I would presume that you might be able to achieve more success this way.

But if there is more to this issue that would change my perspective, please describe this to me.

DRHD

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WCM14
Joined Dec 11, 2008
Posts: 4

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Posted:Dec 15, 2008 4:31:48 PM

DRHD - in this case no predetermination telephone call was ever received from the OCR. The OCR quotes the head of disability for the school as saying that if the disability was severe the student would not have been able to write in kindergarten. The student was unable to write in kindergarten and I have the student's kindergarten work as well as the comments from kindergarten teacher. Although I am concerned that do I now have to submit all evidence of the disability in school work and teacher comments since kindergarten?

A consultation with a PhD in Learning Disabilites last week revealed that the school has a reputation for refusing disabilities to qualified students. Evaluation for student done by neuropsychologist refuted by an occupational therapist with less than 20 years experience. OT never met with student.

Head of disability for school also lamented lack of comments on report cards and IEP plans. Student was voluntarily enrolled in private schools that did not receive public funds. Schools gave academic accommodations to student based on evaluations. High school had a learning support department.

University employee at academic help center referred student for occupational therapy help. If student was not considered disabled why refer student?

The majority of Professors have disclaimer in class outlines that say any accommodations have to come through disability services. Head of disability services actually suggested that student try the avenue you suggested - but professors have not been willing to do so citing the fact that accommodations need to come through the disability office.

Student has major life issues - fine motor incoordination causes writing utensil issues and student unable to write fast enough to complete exams. Therefore student is unable to complete tests in alloted time span and grades have suffered as a result. University experts claim no such disability exists although evaluations done starting at age 10 and reports from teachers before that indicate issues with coordination - both fine and gross. Disability affects both.

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WCM14
Joined Dec 11, 2008
Posts: 4

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Posted:Dec 15, 2008 4:33:55 PM

However, OCR has determined that the college has acted appropriately and the question is what is your recourse. Your recourse is now to "appeal" the decision of the college to the 504 Coordinator of the college. You have procedural saafeguards in these matters and for what it is worth you may exhaust them for remedy if deemed in your favor.

Confused by what you say above - appeal to the 504 coordinator of the college? I have no idea as to who this would be. What about appeal to the OCR?

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DRHD
Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Dec 15, 2008 5:32:20 PM

WCM14,

I sense your frustration in this dilemma. I would like to find out more about this college your child attends. Please make this name available to me and I will research it and attempt to locate their procedures for handling such requests from parents on behalf of their children. To the extent you wish to maintain some privacy, I will provide you my email address: doc7dew@yahoo.

It will be my intent to view and navigate their website and also attempt to locate their written procedures in these and all matters.

First, please answer the following questions:

1) Did you submit a written formal complaint to OCR or did you just make telephone contact/inquiry?
2) Did OCR provide you a written formal response to your inquiry?
3) Did the college provide you with a copy of your procedural protections in matters related to the identification of a student with a 504 disability?
4) Each entity must identify a 504 contact person and this college has one. I will attempt to locate this person's name.
5) What year is your child in this college? How have her grades been thus far since she has been in attendance.

As for the occupational therapy, it does not surprise me that your child has not been acknowledged to receive this. It works this way: one has to be determined eligible as an "otherwise qualified handicapped" recipient to be afforded the supplemental services associated with being a person eligible for 504 entitlements.

6) Finally, what was your child's disability in high school and when did she graduate and what is his/her age now?

Sorry for the lengthy email.

Perhaps I can assist you in a game plan. Look forward to hearing from you.

DRHD

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BNHPSY
Joined Dec 16, 2008
Posts: 13

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Posted:Dec 16, 2008 8:20:20 PM

I often warn other parents about this. Just becuase you are able to convince the public school system your child is "disabled" and keep them receiving services and accommodations for almost their entire public education career does not mean the rest of the adult world will recognize them as such. Sometimes, the effects of weaknesses identified early in childhood lesson and people just don't qualify as "disabled" anymore. The university likely found that your child's skills in the previous area of weakness were within normal limits, thus not justifying an identification as a disablity.

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WCM14
Joined Dec 11, 2008
Posts: 4

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Posted:Jan 02, 2009 11:08:27 AM

Student was never in public school system.

Student developmental test:
Visual motor integration 5%
Visual perception 39%
Motor coordination 23%

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