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One-to-one Ratios Again!
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One-to-one Ratios Again!

Sep 2016

It is pretty simple.  We believe that if after an assessment, as a part of the eight-step inclusion process, that a one-to-one aide is need, the responsibility of the agency is to provide the one-to-one aide.  We are not saying make one-to-one aides the default position.  But if your own assessment shows that need, meet the need.

A New Jersey correspondent asked us about the language used by a Virginia agency.  Here is the question and our reply. 

Reminder: Leisure coaching IS A LIMITED RESOURCE. Transitional support into support camps/classes is based on availability and need. The maximum level of support is generally 3 days of camp during a given week and should not be construed to serve as 1:1 support (they often support multiple kids). Classes maintain some flexibility based on the progress of the customer. If additional support is needed in a camp or class to help meet the code of conduct, parents, under the ADA, may provide their own support (self, therapist, aide, babysitter, etc.).

***Effective Mid-August through Labor Day: Camp access to leisure coaches is generally non-existent. Leisure Coaches (teachers, instructional assistants, and college students) generally return to school during that time frame. ADA accommodations and an accommodation plan are provided for the camp staff/customer***

How long can I expect to receive the support of a leisure coach?
Classes: A leisure coach can provide support for one class session per seasonal brochure (targeting 6 out of 8 classes in a typical class session).
Camps: A leisure coach can provide support for a maximum 3 out of 5 days for one week camp sessions. Under the ADA, parents have the right to provide their own support (aide, therapist, or parent) upon departure of the leisure coach.

In our answer, we noted some issues with these statements.

In the first paragraph we are told “leisure coaching” is a limited resource.  It is indeed.  However, we believe that title II 35.130 prohibits the arbitrary limitation of the “aides for program beneficiaries” to a set number of days.

In the first paragraph we are told that support is “not to be construed as 1:1 support.”  That statement fails…if your assessment shows a need for 1:1, provide it.  There is nothing wrong with shared support, where a staff is assigned to two or three kids. 

In the second paragraph the agency tells registrants that “leisure coaches are non-existent mid-August through Labor Day.”  While we understand that staffing issues in that period of time, if the program is running, the agency must have the capacity to provide supports for registrants with disabilities.  The statement above is akin to saying “mid-August to Labor Day we cannot find lifeguards so swim at your own risk.”  You wouldn’t do that, and you cannot make the statement here about registrants with disabilities.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this newsletter is legal advice. It is instead a relaying of decisions and information about the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act to public parks and recreation. Readers interested in legal advice should seek an attorney licensed in your state that knows the ADA and can apply it to parks and recreation.