Friday, October 21, 2011

Federal Court Hears Autism Education Case

OMAHA, Neb. -- A trial in U.S. District Court in Omaha opened Thursday with a video of an autistic boy named Luke McNair.
Two Luke McNairs, really, his attorney says, and the contrast in the boy's behavior shown on the courtroom's computer screens goes to the heart of his parents' lawsuit against Lincoln Public Schools.
The first half of the video shows Luke in spring 2009, when he arrived at the Kennedy Kreiger Institute, a research facility for child and adolescent developmental disabilities associated with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
It shows him crying, hitting and banging his head. The second half shows him five months later: calm, answering questions, doing his schoolwork.
Matt and Chrissy McNair, who were not identified in court but agreed to have their names used in this story, say LPS officials violated federal special education law by not relying on research and evidence from institute experts when implementing a plan for their son at Sheridan Elementary School.

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