Hawai'i Association for Behavior Analysis

To educate, advocate for, and support both providers and consumers 
of Applied Behavior Analysis.


ABA Lawsuit Filed - Civil Beat 

updated 12/26/2018

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.”

In Support of Our Keiki 

"Defendants, jointly and individually, are required to provide or accommodate ABA services for these constituents, but are failing to do so in violation of federal and state laws. Defendants, jointly and individually, discriminate against these constituents based on their Autism disability by systemically depriving them of the services they need. Defendants’ actions, jointly and individually, have caused and continue to cause irreparable harm to Hawai`i children and young adults with Autism by, inter alia, blatant discrimination against them, relegating them to isolation, segregating them from the regular classroom, predetermining their education plans, and denying them access to medically necessary ABA treatment without accommodations, all of which contribute to diminished futures and entrench severe long-term disability."

DOE’s refusal to accommodate medically necessary ABA during school hours forces students with Autism out of public schools. This violates not only ADA and Section 504, but IDEA as well. “As a general matter, services that enable a disabled child to remain in school during the day provide the student with the meaningful access to education that Congress envisioned.” Cedar Rapids Cmty. Sch. Dist. v. Garret F. ex rel. Charlene F., 526 U.S. 66, 73, 119 S.Ct. 992, 997 (1999) (internal quotation omitted). “Congress intended to open the door of public education to all qualified children and required participating States to educate handicapped children with nonhandicapped children whenever possible.” Id. at 78, 119 S.Ct. at 999 (internal quotations omitted).

In Opposition of Our Keiki 

"DOE already provides a thorough and comprehensive evaluation for every student with ASD to develop an IEP for each student that is reasonable calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits.” “Plaintiff’s entire Complaint is built upon a fiction of its own creation and, as explained below, the injunctive relief Plaintiff seeks in its Motion would be entirely inappropriate.”