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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.
We publish this newsletter occasionally, when time permits. Back issues of The Special Ed Advocate are archived at our web site -
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. Progress Report From Wrightslaw, New Search Engine & Our First Anniversary
Less than one year ago, we sent out the first issue of the Special Ed Advocate newsletter. This newsletter now goes out to thousands of subscribers around the world. We want to thank you for your support and encouragement. Please check your e mail box often. You’ll soon receive our "Anniversary Issue" of The Special Ed Advocate newsletter.
We have continued to work on two books. The "IDEA Book" evolved into WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW which is in the final editing stages.
WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW is a legal reference book that includes:
** Full text of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 and Analysis
** Newly published IDEA Regulations, including the new Appendix A
** Section 504 and Regulations
**FERPA and Regulations
** Key Supreme Court decisions in special education cases, including the new decision in "Cedar Rapids v. Garret F."
As a subscriber to this newsletter, you’ll soon receive more information about WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW.
You can now search the WRIGHTSLAW site. To find information that answers your questions, use "search" words to find all files on the site that contain those words.
AND, if you’d like a humorous diversion, search WRIGHTSLAW using "balloon" and "lawyer" as your search words, then go to the end of the file provided by the search engine.
2. Update on the Ashbury Case
Many newsletter subscribers remember the Asbury case. Daniel Asbury is a young autistic child who receives ABA therapy. In ABA therapy programs, autistic children receive intensive one-on-one therapy, six hours a day, seven days a week, for two to three years. This form of intensive remediation has a good track records. After intensive ABA or Lovaas therapy, about half of these many of these children require no more special education.
In the Spring of 1998, just before a due process hearing, Daniel’s case was settled for $133,000. The press release and settlement agreement are in the Advocacy Library. In June, Daniel’s parents brought suit against the state of Missouri.
Recently, we received an update on the case from Kansas attorney Mary Jane White who represents Daniel and his parents. She reports that:
"The Asbury claims against Missouri SEA (DESE) have also been taken up by Missouri P & A, who, with their special standing to seek systemic relief, have effectively converted these claims in to a form of "class action."
"Before Missouri P & A agreed to join in the claims, the claims survived DESE's motion to dismiss. These claims include complaints about child find, categorization, failure to disseminate promising research, failure to implement promising research, failure to train and certify autism teachers and failure to enter into appropriate interagency agreements to benefit preschool children with autism."
"Section 504 compensatory and punitive damage claims also survived, even under the 8th Circuit's narrow rulings requiring gross professional misjudgment."
"DESE, the Asburys, their attorneys, and Missouri P & A go to federal mediation with ALJ Lyn Beekman of Michigan. As the court-approved neutral, Mr. Beekman sat as the hearing officer on four recent due process "Lovaas" cases in Michigan and participated in the Michigan task force concerning Lovaas-style interventions. Mediation may continue through mid-April of 1999."
"Trial is November 1, 1999. Jury trial has been requested."
3. Update on IDEA Regs ?
On Friday, March 12, 1999, the U. S. Department of Education published the Final Regs in the Federal Register, Volume 64, beginning at page 12405, in an adobe acrobat pdf format and in ascii text. That web site URL is
We got the regs up on our site in record time – and they were readable and printable! We converted most of the files from ascii.txt to word.doc and then to *.html for easier viewing, reading, and printing. We also placed the "pdf" files at our website.
The "index page" for the Final IDEA Regs in these different formats is available at the Wrightslaw site.
The Regulations and the commentary are published in the March 12, 1999 edition of the Federal Register. Later, the regulations will also be published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and will be known as 34 C.F.R. Part 300. Most urban libraries and all law libraries have the Code of Federal Regulations. The regs will be located in Volume 34. The early intervention regs are Part 303 in Volume 34.
We draw your attention to the New Appendix A (which replaces the former Appendix C). Appendix A discusses IEPs, IEP teams and meetings, parental role, what to do if parents and school do not agree on the child's IEP, transition plans, and more.
Not all of the March 12th Federal Register will be in the CFR. Portions that are not regulations, but instead are commentaries, notes, attachments, etc. will only be in the Federal Register. If you are an attorney who represents children with disabilities or an advocate and may later need an explanation of a particular regulation for submission to a judge or hearing officer, I suggest that you also print the adobe acrobat pdf files from the Federal Register.
4. Editor's Choice From the Advocate's Bookstore
* * TEACHING THE TIGER * *
Judy from New Mexico writes:
I want to commend you on adding "Teaching the Tiger" to your bookstore. Our part of the country has been very backwards in sped issues. I have been in the trenches with my children and others for almost 40 years.
As an advocate for children, I often walk into a pretty hostile environment at schools. Often, these cases involve ADHD/ADD and learning disabilities. When I bring "Teaching the Tiger" to IEP meetings, I offer to pass the book around. In every instance, there is immediate interest among diagnosticians and special ed personnel.
"Teaching the Tiger" is a great ice breaker. I suggest that parents write their parent input attachment before the meeting, using this book as a guide. It has been a godsend.
We have used the section on computer assisted learning to help get daily computer access to help these children.
Your site is most empowering, and I recommend it to the parents for whom I advocate. I can’t wait to get your new books when they come out.
* * EDUCATIONAL CARE * *
"Needless suffering occurs whenever children grow up disappointing themselves and the adults who care for them . . . these children come to question their own worthiness as they compare themselves to others . . . So much is at stake. Children who experience too much failure too early in life are exquisitely vulnerable to a wide range of complications . . . they are especially prone to behavioral and emotional difficulties that are more severe than the learning problems that generated them."
Noting that ""School problems inflict the greatest harm when they are misunderstood," Dr. Levine includes an excellent chapter on assessment and planning.
For more information about "Teaching the Tiger" and "Educational Care" visit the bookstore.
* * THE CHALLENGING CHILD * *
Identifies five "difficult" child personality types--sensitive, withdrawn, defiant, inattentive, and active/aggressive--explains child development – and offers strategies to turn difficulties into positive personality traits.
Parents do not have to "live with" a child's fixed temperament. By adjusting their reactions to the "difficult" child's behavior, parents can help "difficult" children grow up into be healthy adults.
For more information about "The Challenging Child" go to