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The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal issues, cases, tactics and strategy, educational methods that work, and Internet links.
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(1.) PRESS RELEASE: THE ADVOCATE BOOKSTORE OPENS TODAY (BETA VERSION)
(2.) WE NEED YOUR HELP!
(3) MORE ABOUT MEDIATION
(4.) NEW LETTER TO THE WEBMASTER- Dave writes to ask "Lovaas v. TEACCH?"
(5.) GOOD CASE: MR. X. v. NEW YORK (S.D. NY 1997) - ABA/Lovaas therapy for young child with autism.
(6.) SONJA KERR ANNOUNCES NEW WEB SITE
(7.) NEWS RELEASE: Clinical Symposium on Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders, Alexandria, Virginia, October 16, 1998.
(8.) UPDATE: The "Understanding Special Education Series" on AOL Continues
(9.) REMINDER - COPAA CONFERENCE
(10.) SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION
(1.) TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1998: THE SPECIAL ED ADVOCATE'S BOOKSTORE OPENS (BETA VERSION)
We have been working on our new Advocate's Bookstore for weeks - stop in to preview the "beta version" of our new project. Let us know your impressions and thoughts.
(2) WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Our web site has grown to the point where it has become very difficult to manage. We revised the site in late April. Now we are revising the site again. This means that we are moving articles into new libraries, adding links, and reformatting the pages. We are adding the bookstore. When we finish this process, it should be easier for you find the information you need.
There is a downside to this. As we move files, we lose links. (There are thousands of links in the site.) It is impossible for us to check each and every link. If you find a broken link, please let us know! We ask that you send us an e mail - tell us what you were looking for and which "error message" you received. If we get this information from visitors, we'll finish the process more quickly.
(3.) MORE ABOUT MEDIATION
Many parents are writing with questions about mediation. "Should we request mediation?" "Should we participate in mediation?" "How are mediators trained?" "Are mediators really impartial?"
Both Pete and Pam have received mediation training. The information below is from the Academy of Family Mediators web site:
"Mediation offers people the opportunity to resolve their disputes with the help of a neutral person trained in mediation skills, domestic violence issues, financial issues, and other topics."
"The mediator is not a judge or an arbitrator who imposes a decision on people, but is trained to assist people in negotiating their own resolution to their problems or concerns."
"Although mediators may come from a variety of professional backgrounds including: attorneys; psychologists; social workers; marriage or family counselors; clergy people; accountants and financial specialists, they received specialized training to become mediators."
STANDARDS OF PRACTICE FOR FAMILY AND DIVORCE MEDIATION
"Mediation is a family-centered conflict resolution process in which an impartial third party assists the participants to negotiate a consensual and informed settlement. In mediation, whether private or public, decision-making authority rests with the parties."
"The role of the mediator includes reducing the obstacles to communication, maximizing the exploration of alternatives, and addressing the needs of those it is agreed are involved or affected."
"Mediation is based on principles of problem solving that focus on the needs and interests of the participants; fairness; privacy; self determination; and the best interest of all family members."
If you are considering mediation, we urge you to learn about the process - what it can accomplish, the limitations, and so forth.
One book that we recommend at our training sessions is "Getting To Yes" by Roger Fisher and William Ury. "Getting to Yes" offers a way to resolve conflict that leads to "win-win" solutions. These techniques are based on research from the Harvard Negotiation Project.
(4.) NEW LETTER TO THE WEBMASTER
On August 21, 1998, we sent out an
ALERT to newsletter subscribers. In this Alert, we advised that the
Department of Education was reopening their comment period on Early
Intervention Regs. We added that:
"Effective early intervention programs are crucial for young children with severe disorders like autism. The only early intervention programs that have track records of success with these children are ABA/discrete trial/Lovaas therapy programs. These programs are intensive and expensive. Few school districts have made these programs available to young autistic children - even though they are the only programs that work."Our mailbox quickly filled up with messages from people who took issue with these statements. We were unable to respond to all of these messages but felt that we needed to clarify our position. Dave was one of many people who wrote about the TEACCH-Lovaas debate.
(5) Mr. X v. NEW YORK (SD NY 1997)
What is ABA/DT/Lovaas therapy? How does it work? Why is it so controversial?
This is how Judge Motley described
ABA therapy (sometimes called "Discrete Trial" or "Lovaas therapy").
"The facts as alleged in the complaint are as follows: E was born on August 9, 1991. Since March, 1994, E has been receiving, at the expense of his parents, remediation for his autistic symptoms in a home based program which incorporates discrete trial instructions using Applied Behavioral Analysis ("ABA"). (footnote 1)"As you read the Mr. X case, you'll see that Judge Motley was presented with several other questions:
If a local school district fails to provide a child with an appropriate education, is the state responsible?Read Judge Motley's well-written, well-reasoned decision
(6.) NEWS RELEASE: KERR LAW OFFICE ANNOUNCES WEBSITE
Many readers read Sonja Kerr's "Letter to Damon" at our website in which she provides advice about tactics and strategy to the lawyer who is handling his or her first special education case.
Sonja is proud to announce that the
Kerr Law Office has a website.
Sonja is writing about the journey of a case as it travels through mediation, pre-hearing, due process, etc. She reports that the case will be up in the next few weeks and will include parental interviews, interviews from caregivers, etc.
We have developed a good friendship
with Sonja. In June she visited us at Stingray Point on the Chesapeake
Bay and we had a great time. We are looking forward to another website
devoted to special ed advocacy.
(7.) NEWS RELEASE: CLINICAL SYMPOSIUM ON TOURETTE SYNDROME AND ASSOCIATED DISORDERS, OCTOBER 16, 1998.
Experts from around the country will meet on October 16, 1998 at the Radisson Hotel in Alexandria, Virginia for a Clinical and Scientific Symposium on Tourette Syndrome and Associated Disorders. This Symposium is being sponsored by the Tourette Syndrome Association.
Clinicians and scientific researchers will discuss research on Tourette Syndrome symptoms. These clinicians are also searching for answers about associated disorders which include Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Disorders, and learning problems.
Topics will include:
(8.) COMING UP: MORE GUESTS ON THE 'UNDERSTANDING SPECIAL EDUCATION' SERIES
Some of the nation's top experts, specialists and authorities in their fields are available on AOL in the Better Health Conference Room, Wednesday evenings, 9 p.m., EDT.
"With IDEA 97 bringing about significant changes to this law, it is an important time to understand what this amended law does and how it works. A number of national experts on special education and civil rights disability law are on the roster."
September 9, 1998: The Politics
of Special Education & Advocacy
September 16, 1998: IEP's in IDEA
September 23, 1998: Attention Deficit
Disorder and Learning Disabilities in Special Education
September 30, 1998: Coordinated
Campaign for Learning Disabilities
You can get more information at -
(9.) REMINDER COPAA CONFERENCE
The Second Annual COPAA Conference
will be held in San Diego on January 29-31, 1999.
COPAA is The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. To learn more about plans for the Second Annual COPAA Conference, go to