A federal appeals court decision this week may open the door for families to seek damages in cases where a child’s need for special services is ignored.

The decision came in a lawsuit alleging that Hawaii schools deliberately neglected the needs of two girls with autism during their formative years.

The girls, who are sisters, were diagnosed with the developmental disability as toddlers. Yet they were not provided with autism treatment services by the state until they were much older, the lawsuit contends. As a result, the progress they were able to make was limited.

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Now teens, the girls have limited speech and social interaction abilities, the lawsuit indicates, meaning they will require care for the rest of their lives.

This week, a federal appeals court said the suit in which the girls’ family is seeking damages for the “lost opportunity” may go forward, reports the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. To read more click here.