Special education due process hearings involving students with autism.
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Hill, Deena Clair.
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As more children are diagnosed with autism, school districts are forced to reexamine their practices as both substantive and procedural issues arise in special education due process hearings and court cases related to children with autism. The purpose of this study was to analyze and evaluate the special education due process hearing decisions involving students with autism held in the state of Texas from the school years 1995-1996 through 2004-2005. The guiding questions for this research were: (1) What are the descriptive characteristics of the due process hearing decisions involving students with autism? (2) What are the overall outcomes of the cases? (3) Are there possible relationships between descriptive characteristics of the due process hearing decisions and the outcomes? Descriptive research methods were used to analyze 86 special education due process hearing decisions over the 10-year period. The following case characteristics were described: date the hearing decision was rendered, gender of student, size of school district involved in the hearing and regional education service center in which the district is located, hearing officer, legal representation of parties, involvement of expert witnesses involved in testimony, issues and relief requested at hearing. Results suggest that overall outcomes for issue and requested relief rulings favored school districts. Possible relationships were found between the case characteristics of the due process hearing decisions and the outcomes.