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Asperger's Judgment
Federal Judge Rules That Asperger's Syndrome Is A Disability

From the Schafer Report on autism ...

A York County girl who suffers from Asperger's syndrome is entitled to special education services even though she completes her homework, behaves well in class and scores well on tests, a federal judge ruled.

U.S District Judge D. Brock Hornby ordered School Administrative District 55 to assemble a team of teachers and specialists to design an appropriate learning program for the girl, identified in court documents only as "L.I." In his ruling, Hornby said the girl's parents demonstrated that the disability adversely affects her educational performance "and is thus
eligible for special education under (federal law) due to her Asperger syndrome and her depressive disorder."

Richard O'Meara, the family's lawyer, said the decision recognizes that social development is an important part of education, along with academic studies. "Education is so much more than academic performance," O'Meara said. "Hopefully, this will put that debate to rest once and for all."

While Hornby overturned the district's decision to deny services, the judge also denied the family's reimbursement request for the two years of private school tuition it has paid since taking her out of public school in 2003.

Nonetheless, advocates for the disabled hailed the ruling as a victory.

The decision clarifies the question of who is eligible for services, and it will have an impact both in the state and beyond, said Peter Rice of the Disability Rights Center of Maine.

Eric Herlan, lawyer for SAD 55, declined to comment until he has reviewed the 48-page ruling, which was issued Monday afternoon.

Asperger's syndrome is a milder variant of autism. The name comes from Dr. Hans Asperger, an Austrian who described the syndrome in 1944.

Hornby's ruling described Asperger's as a "clinically recognized pervasive developmental disability" with symptoms that include "limited interests or an unusual preoccupation with a particular subject to the exclusion of other activities." School is challenging for Asperger's students because they often have poor social skills and difficulty communicating, Hornby wrote.

L.I., who attended public schools in Hiram and Cornish through 5th grade, performed well academically but in the fourth grade her teachers noticed that she looked sad, anxious and had a difficult time making friends. When she was in sixth grade, she stopped studying and attempted to commit suicide by overdosing on several medications. A psychiatrist evaluated her and diagnosed her with Asperger's syndrome and "depressed mood."

A team assembled by the school, however, denied special education services to her "since there was no adverse impact on her academic progress." Her family appealed but the decision was upheld by an independent hearing officer.

O'Meara said the decision could have a broad impact. "It should qualify kids for special education even when academically it seems they are able to succeed in school," he said.

See COMMENTARY below: Special Education Judicial Benchmark

Lenny Schafer
Schafer Autism Report

Special Education Judicial Benchmarks

The federal court ruling that Asperger syndrome is a disability, if it stands, will easily double the number of students legally entitled to special education services, at the least. Those students with Asperger syndrome vastly outnumber those diagnosed with clinical autism currently in special education programs. While difficult to predict the actual increase in mandated costs, this would in all likelihood lead to the bankruptcy of a number of school districts across the country.

School districts going into "receivership" means that the states must take over the management and costs of the district until taxes can be raised or expenses slashed to restore balanced budgets. The individual states across the country are already having a difficult time maintaining current levels of services to the disabled.

Could this be the beginning of the financial turning point we have been expecting when the public starts to stand up and finally take notice of the autism epidemic -- when it starts hitting their pocketbooks big time? I can see the question being raised in State Capitols across the country: "Where is all this autism coming from, anyway?" The reason why the states will be asking this question in the first place is because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal public health agencies, whose jobs this is to ask, have not been asking. This autism epidemic has been building for near 15 years and the CDC has done virtually nothing about it but sit on their hands, except to promote after-the-fact early intervention programs. I take that back. They are not sitting on their hands, their hands are behind them, desperately trying to cover their butts for causing the epidemic in the first place. This is well chronicled in David Kirby's book "Evidence of Harm."

With each passing day it is becoming more obvious where the source of the epidemic lies. More science continues to emerge that validates the anecdotal observations of parents who claim their children became autistic after being injected with vaccines containing mercury and a variety of other toxins. More parents are seeing their children regain health after being treated for heavy metal poisoning.

Pretty soon it won't just be parents of vaccine damaged children clamoring, pleading, suing, and demonstrating for the truth to be told and for justice to be done; it will be state governments trying to figure out how they got stuck with the exploding autism bills for the fed's negligence and cover-up, and as pay-offs to political supporters. Let's just see how far CDC director Julie "Antoinette" Gerberding gets trying to peddle her denial cake not just to pedestrian parents crying out for what has happened to their children, but to howling state officials demanding answers. No, this "French Revolution" will be lead by bleeding state governments who will be kicking themselves for not removing mercury from their state vaccines sooner. And maybe then it will finally dawn on them why the corrupted core Republicans who have made repeated attempts, and have finally succeeded, in sneaking in vaccine liability protection for their Pharma friends and
"supporters" - did so.

But you ain't seen nothin' yet. Just wait until China, Asia, Indonesia and Africa figure out where their newly sprung autism epidemics are coming from: the exported "perfectly safe" mercury vaccines the United States won't give to our own children, just to be extra perfectly safe, but will give to theirs.

It is too early to tell how much impact this ruling of Asperger's as a disability will make. Our children should be supported through broad legislation and not judicial activism, which is prone to reversal. But even if it gets overturned, the explosion in autism and its respective costs are not going away. No matter the legal definition of disability that becomes policy, it remains that those with Asperger syndrome must have whatever support required to help make them productive neighbors, and the obvious place for that to happen is in the schools. Denying services to injured children is not the place to solve the autism epidemic. Congress, the FDA and the CDC need a good political scrubbing clean. Pharma needs to pony up for their reckless profiteering, no matter their friends -- friends formerly in high places not soon enough.