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G.R.’s Story: A Path to Inclusion

G.R.’s Story: A Path to Inclusion

G.R. is a student with a speech-language impairment who, with years of support from PFCR, was able to secure the special education services he needed to move from a self-contained classroom to inclusive mainstream programs.

When G.R.’s parents came to PFCR, he was an eleven-year-old student enrolled in a self-contained special education class in a DOE public school. Despite being a bright young man, G.R. had not been able to succeed in less restrictive educational settings, as his speech-language impairment made it very difficult for him to process auditory information at the rate needed to keep up with the pace of instruction. However, the special education class where the DOE placed G.R. also was not appropriate. The other students in the class had significantly lower cognitive and adaptive functioning than G.R. and engaged in disruptive behaviors that made it difficult for G.R. to focus and learn. G.R.’s parents discussed this concern with the school and worked with the school to try to find a more appropriate class. However, the school ultimately determined that it had no appropriate setting for G.R.

Left with no other option, G.R.’s parents removed him from the public school and placed him in a private school that could offer him an appropriate special class setting. PFCR successfully represented the family in obtaining payment for G.R.’s tuition in this private school setting for the remainder of the school year and the following year.

After two years of receiving appropriate special education services at the private school, G.R. was ready to move to a more inclusive program. At G.R.’s annual Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, his parents asked the DOE to place him in a full-time general education setting with the support of a 1:1 aide. The DOE refused, taking the position that 1:1 aides are only available to address behavioral or health issues, not to support students academically. And since the DOE would not provide G.R. with a 1:1 aide, the DOE also did not offer him a full-time general education placement, instead planning a more restrictive special education program for him.

Since the DOE would not offer G.R. what he needed, his parents enrolled him in a private school inclusion program, where he could attend general education classes full-time and receive the support of a 1:1 aide. PFCR successfully represented the family in securing payment for G.R.’s tuition in that full-time inclusion program for three school years. At the end of those three years, G.R. graduated from the eighth grade, meeting the same graduation standards as his general education classmates.

With help and guidance from PFCR, G.R. applied to a number of different high school programs and ultimately enrolled in a New York City charter school. Due to the years of support he received in his private school placements, G.R. was able to enter the ninth grade at the charter school in a full-time mainstream program, with no further need for a 1:1 aide. G.R. is now a thriving high school student, receiving an appropriate education alongside his non-disabled peers and planning for the bright future he has ahead of him.

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