L.I. v. Maine School Admin. Dist.

March 5, 2007


  • A student with Asperger's Syndrome and a depressive disorder was found ineligible for special education because she was performing well academically.
  • The district argued that it only had to provide special education to students whose conditions "significantly impact educational performance."

The Ruling

  • The courts found that education included more than academics -- for example, physical, emotional, and social needs.
  • The services that this student needed (social skills and pragmatic language instruction) qualified as "specifically designed instruction," warranting special education eligibility.

Triumphs and Concerns

  • The court made it clear that the school district has a responsibility to educate and assist its students beyond merely the standards that are typically measured.
  • This case makes it possible for students with disabilities to receive not only the general curriculum but also life skills for further education, employment, and independent living.
  • The district expressed a concern in over-identifying students with special needs.

Reference: Maine decision. (2008, November 10). Retrieved September 11, 2013, from Disabilities Rights Center website: http://www.drcnh.org/Maine.htm