According to Dr. Amanda N. Kelly, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Legislative Chair of the Board of Hawaiʻi Association for Behavior Analysis, the lawsuit is “specific to the lack of coordination of DHS and DOE. Our state has literally failed these children on both the medical and educational front. They [DHS and DOE] are both responsible,” she said.
We’re asking the court to tell DHS and DOE to talk to each other and work it out so affected students can get the services they need during school,” said Kristin Holland, an attorney with Dentons law firm in Honolulu — previously known as Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing — which is handling the case. She said the small percentage of kids in Hawaiʻi public schools who do receive ABA services through their Individualized Education Programs (IEP) is the result of parents fighting their way through the system or waging due process cases. “It’s this inscrutable process … that parents of children with autism are expected to navigate,” she said. “The end result is children are not getting services they’re entitled to during school. It’s putting parents in an impossible situation, where they have to pull the kids out of school to get services.”
"Autism is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. There is no cure. As many as 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with Autism. ABA is one of the few scientifically valid treatments for Autism endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General. “ABA encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative behaviors in order to improve a variety of skills[,]” and “[t]he child’s progress is tracked and measured.” An average recommendation for medically necessary ABA is 20-40 hours per week. In addition to being medically necessary for some children, ABA is also “widely recognized as a superior method for teaching children with [A]utism. Medically necessary and educationally relevant ABA overlap and are difficult to distinguish. To be effective, ABA must be administered in mainstream community settings such as at home, at school, and other places (i.e., administered “across settings”). ABA services also must be planned and overseen by a LBA and administered by a qualified person to be effective."