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Autism lawsuit claims state ignored child for years: Ruhl family sues

Lana Bandoim's picture

The Ruhl family has filed a lawsuit after claiming the state of Ohio ignored their autistic child’s needs. They maintain that Weston Ruhl did not receive the necessary medical early intervention he required, and the state refused to provide financial help. Although the family noticed something was wrong before Weston was six months old, he did not get the treatments he needed for several years.


Weston Ruhl is an autistic 3-year-old who did not receive a diagnosis until he was 2 years old. His parents claim the state deliberately delayed his diagnosis and treatment, and in the process avoided helping the family financially. The Ruhls are suing the United States Department of Education, the Ohio Department of Health and the woman in charge of Ohio’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act program.

Gary and Nikki Ruhl believe applied behavioral analysis could have made a difference in their son’s life, but the early intervention they wanted was denied. The family explains that their son now needs $500,000 to cover ongoing behavioral treatments because they missed the opportunity to help him at a younger age. They point out that they asked for help multiple times but were turned away by Wendy Grove. She is the system coordinator for Ohio’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act program and advised the Ruhl family that they needed to get their county to provide ABA services.

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Most medical experts agree that early intervention is an important part in handling autism, so children who are ignored by the system for years are left without the necessary therapy. Although the Ruhl family was able to eventually get applied behavior analysis therapy for Weston, it took more than 2 years and a long battle. They believe they lost valuable time that will have an impact on him for the rest of his life.

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