Worcester schools leaving special needs student behind, mother says

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A Worcester student has waited 10 months to receive access to educational assistance that was proposed by Worcester Public Schools officials and agreed upon by he and his mother through a mandated program.

Gino Berthiaume

Courtesy Kelly Rawson

Gino Berthiaume

Eugene “Gino” Berthiaume, a 15-year-old deaf child who attends the Marie Jean Philip Elementary School at The Learning Center for Deaf Children in Framingham, was diagnosed at birth with congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) and suffers from bilateral hearing loss, developmental delays, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Everyday life isn’t easy for Gino and he gets easily frustrated. Sometimes that frustration leads to aggressive tendencies. Gino lacks self-care skills and has a tendency to obsess on single subjects — for instance, his love of professional wrestling, according to his mother, Kelly Rawson

In January, the Worcester Public School system offered Gino in-home services from an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapist for 1.5 hours a day for five days a week.

The in-home services were added to Gino’s IEP [Individualized Education Program] through a reevaluation on Jan. 30, 2015. The IEP is a statement written by the home school district, in this case Worcester, that outlines the needs of special education students as part of state-regulated guidelines.

The in-home services provided by the ABA therapist were supposed to start on Jan. 30, 2015 and end Jan. 30, 2016 — just more than two months from now.

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