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Highlights: This special "Back to School Issue" includes links to articles and resources about advocacy; new decision about educational benefit and residential placement from 8th Circuit.
Subscribers as August 6, 2001: 28,605
SPECIAL BACK TO SCHOOL ISSUE: AUGUST 2001
1. From the Editor
It's "Back to School Time"- and time for us to publish an updated list of articles and information. Because site visitors have different needs, we developed lists of articles by experience level and interest. We hope these lists will help you find information that meets your needs.
If you have a specific question, please post your question in one of the Wrightslaw communities.
2. If you are new to Special Ed. . .
If you are NEW to the amazing world of special ed - as a parent or a new teacher - you are likely to feel confused and overwhelmed. Where should you start?
We suggest that you download, print, and read these articles:
Good special education services are intensive and expensive. Resources are limited. If you have a child with special needs, you may wind up battling the school district for the services your child needs. To prevail, you need information, skills, and tools.
There's an old saying, "Prior planning prevents problems." This is especially true for parents who want to ensure that their child gets effective, appropriate special education services."
As a parent, you negotiate with the school for services. To be a successful negotiator, you must understand the system and how it works. Many parents don't realize that school systems are bureaucracies. Parents often don't know how important decisions are made - or by whom.
This article includes many links to information and resources about advocacy by parents:
Short article by advocate Marie Sherrett describes joys and challenges of parent advocacy. What kind of advocate are you?
PARENT ADVOCACY PAGE
For more articles and resources about advocacy, please visit our Parent Advocacy Page
3. Advocacy 101 - Get top Articles
More experienced parents, teachers and advocates have questions about evaluations, IEPs, and progress ("educational benefit"). Here is a list of the most popular articles from Wrightslaw:
Most parents of special needs children know that they must understand the law and their rights. Few parents know that they must also understand the facts.
The "facts" in a child's case are contained in the tests and evaluations that have been administered to the child. Changes in test scores over time provide the means to assess educational benefit or regression.
Learn more about tests and measurements and how to make educational progress graphs.
Few parents look forward to IEP meetings. You may feel anxious, confused and inadequate at school meetings. What is your role? What do you have to offer? What should you do? Say? Not do?
4. New decision about educational benefit and residential placement (8ht Circuit)
On August 3, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued a decision on behalf of a child with emotional and behavior problems. In "ISD No. 284 Wayzata Area Schools (MN) v. A.C." the Court overturned the federal district court ruling and found that the child required residential placement to receive educational benefit. In this important decision, the Court discusses FAPE, mainstreaming, LRE, and the required continuum of placements, circumstances that support residential placement for the child to receive educational benefit, whether child's social and emotional problems were "separable from the learning process," was residential placement actually "confinement" which the school is are not required to provide or pay for, and compensatory education v. dollar damages.
In their decision, the Court disagreed with the Seventh Circuit:
"Nor do we agree with the Seventh Circuit that a problem resulting from a disability is separable from the learning process if the problem is "not primarily educational." Dale M. v. Bd. of Ed. of Bradley-Bourbonnais High School Dist. No. 307, 237 F.3d 813, 817 (7th Cir. 2001). If the problem prevents a disabled child from receiving educational benefit, then it should not matter that the problem is not cognitive in nature or that it causes the child even more trouble outside the classroom than within it. What should control our decision is not whether the problem itself is "educational" or "non-educational," but whether it needs to be addressed in order for the child to learn."
Will the case be appealed to the Supreme Court to resolve this split among circuits?
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