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Connecticut to extend transition services until age 22!

posted Jun 23, 2020, 9:28 AM by Diane Willcutts   [ updated Jul 20, 2020, 8:12 AM ]
If your child is 21, do not accept a regular diploma before considering whether additional transition services are needed!

A recent federal court decision--A.R. v. Connecticut State Board of Education--determined that Connecticut's current law limiting special education services to the year in which the student turns 21 is in violation of IDEA.  So now Connecticut districts are obligated to provide transition services to qualifying students through the day before their 22nd birthday.

A.R. was a class action case and applies to individuals who were over 21 and under 22 within two years before the action was filed or who, but for turning 21, would otherwise qualify or would have qualified for a [free appropriate public education] until age 22 because they have not or had not yet earned a regular high school diploma.  The judge awarded individuals in the class compensatory education, the form of which is to be determined.

So what does this mean?  Going forward, students who are 21 and younger who have not yet received a regular diploma may be eligible to extend special education services until age 22.  And students who are older than age 22--as long as they turned 22 within two years before the time the case was filed-- may be eligible for compensatory education to make up for the services that they missed.  If questions, please contact Disability Rights Connecticut, who represented the plaintiffs, or an experienced special education attorney in Connecticut.  

UPDATE July 20, 2020:   Connecticut has appealed the decision.  However, A.R. remains in effect unless the case is overturned by an appellate judge.  And the appeals process typically takes years.  The state did request a "stay" to try to delay having the A.R. decision going into effect, but the judge denied this motion.  So for the foreseeable future, districts are required to extend transition services to 22!  This is consistent with Connecticut guidance on this issue.

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