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The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
November 1, 2000

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Issue - 91

ISSN: 1538-3202


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1. New Letter to Wrightslaw: "Is it legal to send special ed. kids home early?"

Liz asks, "In my district, special ed kids are sent home from school early - from 30 minutes to an hour earlier than "regular ed" students. This doesn't seem right. When I asked about this, I was told, "All special ed students are released early" and "That's the rule."

"IS THIS LEGAL?" 

What do you think? Is Liz's school district acting illegally? Does your school district have a "rule" about sending kids with disabilities home early? Read our answer to Liz


2. New Decision: Kanawha v. Michael M.(IEPs, appropriate, burden of proof, autism, reimbursement for ABA program)

On April 23, a U. S. District Court in West Virginia issued a decision in Kanawha V. Michael M. In Kanawha, the parents of a child with autism requested that the school district reimburse them for their son's ABA or Lovaas program. The school district refused, insisting that their program was appropriate.

The Court found that the IEPs proposed by the school failed to provide Michael with an appropriate education. The Court analyzed the term "appropriate" in the context of the ROWLEY case and discussed educational benefit. The Court also provided guidelines to use in determining if an IEP is appropriate.

Kanawha is one of Pete's favorite cases, "not because it has great precedence, but because it does an excellent job of describing difficulties in the legal definition of "appropriate" and how to use "appropriate" in developing an IEP. Kanawha provides specific guidance about what witnesses need to testify to. In the words of the court, this is more than simple conclusions about a particular method or program."

Pete says, "Kanawha v. Michael M." should be required reading for all attorneys who represent children with disabilities and their witnesses." You can download this decision (22 pages) from the Law Library.

On August 21, the Court issued an Order about the appropriateness of the home-based Lovaas program. You can download this order (7 pages) from the Law Library.


3. Guest Thom Hartmann: "Reinventing Our Schools" 

Thom Hartmann, author of a dozen books, has published a new article about educating ADD/ADHD children.

Thom analyzes the two dominant views, "Is ADD/ADHD a difference or a disease/failure?" He describes ADD/ADHD as a "context disorder."

What do we know about ADD/ADHD conditions? How do these children learn?
Why do public schools often fail these children? What can schools do differently to improve their results?

Read Thom Hartmann's new article, "A Guide to Reinventing Our Schools

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Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
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Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
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Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
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