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Path Cleared for Family, Access to Education Secured

Now in fifth grade, Makayla enjoys reading, art club and gymnastics.
Now in fifth grade, Makayla enjoys reading, art club and gymnastics.

Rematha Grayson first noticed her daughter’s problems with focus and reading in kindergarten. She asked the school for help and they offered to monitor Makayla. Between first and second grade, young Makayla switched school buildings. This change caused a lack of continuity and a confusing paper trail. While the school continued to “monitor,” Makayla continued to have behavioral challenges in school and continued to fall behind.

Makayla has several medical conditions, including asthma, sleep apnea, allergies and eczema. She is up during the night and her medication makes her sleepy. Robert Needlman, her MetroHealth pediatrician, thought her medical issues indicated that she had special needs.

Ms. Grayson requested the school district evaluate her daughter. She made this request for three years, but no action was taken. Then the school told her Makayla was not ready for fourth grade.

Needlman wrote to the school requesting a full special education evaluation. When the school district didn’t reply, the pediatrician referred the family to a Legal Aid lawyer who is part of the team at MetroHealth, Danielle Gadomski Littleton. Before they received the attorney’s request, the school did initiate a full evaluation, but Ms. Gadomski Littleton was now watching the results.

The tests showed Makayla qualified for special education services. Ms. Gadomski Littleton requested compensatory education and the school agreed to provide two summers at The Help Foundation.

Thanks to her Legal Aid lawyer, Makayla is now thriving in school – and has the protection of a
plan for services that will help her graduate and succeed in life.

Click here to view the full Poetic Justice Issue where this story appeared.

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