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The Special Ed Advocate is our free online newsletter about special education legal issues, cases, tactics and strategy, educational methods that work, and Internet links.
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As a subscriber to The Special Ed Advocate, you will receive announcements and "alerts" about new cases and other events. Contact, copyright, and subscription information can be found at the end of this newsletter.
1. NEW TACTICS & STRATEGY ARTICLE: The "Letter to a Stranger"
When parents write letters to the school, these letters will be read by strangers. Many decisions about your child's special education are made by strangers.
Will a Stranger see you as an angry, negative complainer? Or will a Stranger decide that you are a rational, thoughtful parent who has valid concerns?
Your letter gives you a chance to sell the Stranger on the justice of your case. The Stranger doesnít know you, your child, or your situation. When you write letters, keep the Stranger in your mindís eye. Who is the Stranger? What does he look like? How does he think? Describe your problem and tell the Stranger what needs to be done to make things right.
We have added the original "Letter to the Stranger" to the Advocacy Library. This article was written by Janie Bowman and Peter Wright and was originally posted on the CompuServe ADD Forum. Later, the article and other information from the ADD Forum became part of a permanent Smithsonian Exhibit about online culture and communities.
This article includes letters from an actual case. The names were changed to protect the family's privacy. Read the famous "Letter to a Stranger"
Also read our companion article about Letter Writing.
2. EDITORíS CHOICE
HOW TO ARGUE AND WIN EVERY TIME by GERRY SPENCE
"How to Argue and Win Every Time" is NOT about arguing. Gerry Spence will teach you how to present your dispute or problem, using story telling and visual imagery. Pete says, "If you have to go to an important meeting and your emotions are running high, read Chapters 8 and 9 before you do anything."
"How to Argue" is one of Pete's favorite books: "Gerry Spence is the best trial lawyer in America today. He is a student of human behavior - how to convince and persuade others to see things from your perspective."
"After you read this book, youíll understand what controls the outcome of litigation and why Gerry Spence predicted the outcome of the Simpson trial."
For more books about how to negotiate and persuade, go to the Advocateís Bookstore Ė
TEACHING THE TIGER
In the last issue of The Special Ed Advocate, we gave 5 STARS to "Teaching the Tiger: A Handbook for Individuals Involved in the Education of Students With Attention Deficit Disorders, Tourette Syndrome or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder."
Several people wrote to advise that they were unable to access the link so here it is -
As members of the ADD Forum, Pete and Pam Wright contributed chapters to the best-selling book THINK FAST! Janie Bowman (who co-authored the "Letter to the Stranger") edited THINK FAST!
THINK FAST! is available in The Advocate's Library -
3. NEWS FLASH! Update on the Final Special Education Regs
January 25, 1999. The Department of Education announced plans to publish the Final Special Education Regulations by February 26, 1999.
"Final wording of the regulations is being negotiated by the U.S. Department of Education and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Department has denied the rumor that it intended to issue separate discipline regulations."
"The head IDEA staff person for the U.S. Senate has urged the Department to issue separate regs for all of the policy letters incorporated into the proposed regs."
"Significant changes are expected in the Final Regs."
(From Press Release issued by the Council for Exception Children, January 24, 1999)