The Wrightslaw Way

to Special Education Law and Advocacy

The Wrightslaw Way random header image

How Do I “Fight” for My Son’s Needs?

by Wrightslaw

My 10-year-old has just been diagnosed as ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and Tourette’s Disorder. His doctor has recommended a parapro. Should we get an IEP or 504? I need to know how to proceed if I need to “fight” for this for my son.

Advocacy Advice from the Community Helpline -

From David…

If you haven’t already read Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, I highly recommend it.

I would never agree to a parent fighting the public school for their child’s education. You never hear of a fight where both participants win and a child’s education is a risky thing to put on the line.

My wife and I purchased the book mentioned above as well as The Special Education Law book.

We began learning how to advocate for our son when he was in middle school. He currently has a 3.87 GPA in college and is his own advocate these days. It is worthwhile to understand the difference between a 504 and an IEP and the book talks about the importance of SMART goals in an IEP.

From Sharon…

An evaluation should be done but I would not pay for an outside evaluation to start.

You should request an evaluation from the school & then sign the school’s consent form immediately. [Read more →]

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · No Comments.

Wake Up Folks! You are Being Sold a Line of Goods about Dyslexia

by Pat Howey

Ok. I am going on a rant here and I expect some kickback.

Before you tell me how wrong I am, please remember that I have been advocating for almost thirty years.

I recognize how parents and advocates are being manipulated in the name of Dyslexia!

I love the Decoding Dyslexia movement.

However, some in this movement are being led down the path that, somehow, we need more legislation to get services for our kiddos with dyslexia.

Early 1980-90s

How well I remember the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Sped administrators were telling us how they would love to provide services, but they didn’t have adequate money.

They would tell us that if schools could get “full funding” for IDEA, they could provide the services our kids needed.

Schools said, “if you really want to help your kids, write your congressman and demand full funding for special education.” (Full funding is a rant for another day).

Today – 2014

Here we are in 2014. The Decoding Dyslexia movement has become a double edged sword. It has become so powerfully persuasive, school administrators have put a different spin on the way they manipulate parents and advocates.

First, schools tried to say,

We don’t recognize dyslexia; we cover specific learning disabilities.

Then, parents and advocates began to get smart. They started reading the federal law. [Read more →]

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · · 8 Comments

How Do You Write a “Consult” in the IEP?

by Wrightslaw

My daughter will receive 10 hours a year of consultation from the Occupational Therapist (OT) this year. How should we write this in the IEP?

Often the IEP just says that OT will be provided through the consultative model. This is almost as vague as saying “as needed.”

Document the Details in the IEP

OT consultation as a related service, even for only 10 hours a year, should be documented in your child’s IEP as required by the U.S. Department of Education.

Use the U.S. DOE Model Form for required documentation of services on the IEP.

The IEP should include the frequency, duration, location, and projected dates for the service. 34 C.F.R. 300.320(a)(7)

Be specific. Don’t use ranges, use number of times per day/week/month/year, number of minutes/hrs, etc.

Be specific about who will provide the service. Make sure that the IEP specifies a registered OT and not an OT assistant (COTA). Do not use a broad term like “staff”.

See p. 246 in your law book, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law or p. 43 in Wrightslaw: All About IEPs for more info.

Check Your State Regulations

You should also check your state regulations and district policy for the written definition of and requirements for consultation or consultative services. [Read more →]

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · No Comments.

2015 Youth Achievement Award – Apply Today!

by Wrightslaw

There is still time to apply!

Smart Kids with LD – Fred J. Epstein Youth Achievement Award. This $1,000 award recognizes the strengths and accomplishments of young people with learning disabilities and ADHD.

The Award will be given to a student 19 or younger who has demonstrated initiative, talent and determination resulting in a notable accomplishment in any field—including art, music, science, math, athletics or community service.

Winners are nominated by a parent, teacher, mentor, coach, or self. Deadline! Applications must be submitted by December 15, 2014. [Read more →]

Print Friendly

Tags:   · No Comments.

Training in the IEP for School Bus Drivers / Attendants

by Wrightslaw

Are school bus drivers and bus aides who transport special needs children required to have training? Are they required to know the disability and be able to accommodate that disability?

The need for training and support applies to all school personnel, including bus drivers and school bus aides.

School bus drivers are expected to handle children with different needs related to:

  • cognitive concerns
  • behavioral issues
  • physical impairment
  • medical conditions

A school bus driver may need training in behavior management techniques for children with autism and emotional disturbances.

The bus driver or aide may also need training from physical and occupational therapists about how to position a medically fragile child.

The school nurse could train transportation personnel about how to transport a child with health impairments.

NHTSA Training Guidelines for Transportation Personnel

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has a training module for Transportation of Children with Special Needs. [Read more →]

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · 4 Comments

Reminder! – Free Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training Coming to OKC!

by Wrightslaw

Don’t miss out on this FREE Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training. The conference is sponsored by The Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. and Partners in Education Advocacy.

FREE for parents, family members and individuals who work with children with disabilities and are residents of Oklahoma. Out of state registrants are welcome, but will be charged for the cost of the books ($78).

Download the In-State Registration Form.

Download the Out-of-State Registration Form.

Fax your registration form to The Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. at 405-525-7759.

Registrants will receive four books: Wrightslaw Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition, Wrightslaw: All About IEPs and Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments. You will also receive the Wrightslaw Training CD-Rom, Understanding Your Child’s Test Scores.

For all conference details, please click here.

See you in Oklahoma!


Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · · · · 1 Comment

Medicaid Coverage: Feds Clarify Obligations To Kids With Autism

by Wrightslaw

Melanie Feazell works with Declan Byrne during an ABA session. Federal officials say states must provide treatment services like ABA for kids with autism on Medicaid. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/MCT)


Medicaid programs nationwide must offer medically necessary diagnostic and treatment services to kids with autism, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told states in a bulletin earlier this month. (From Disability Scoop, July 17, 2014). That includes everything from speech and occupational therapy to personal care services and medical equipment, the agency said.”

Clarification of Medicaid Coverage of Services to Children with Autism, Informational Bulletin (July 7, 2014)  from the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, (CMS). [Read more →]

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · No Comments.

Improve Your Advocacy Skills! Attend a Wrightslaw Training in 2015!

by Wrightslaw

The 2015 Wrightslaw Training Schedule is filling up fast! Pick a city and register today!

Read what people are saying about Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Trainings.

“I am very glad that I was able to attend Peter Wright’s training session in Wilton last week. I thought he was terrific! Re that, what a good job he is doing in working to empower parents!!” NY attorney

“Very informative. Great ideas for advocacy. Now I feel that I can negotiate with understanding the law to support me.” – Attendee, Portland, Maine

“THANK-YOU so much for the opportunity to learn such invaluable information this past weekend. It was the BEST!”

“As a counselor, I am often “out of the loop” so this information was especially valuable. When I returned to school, I reviewed my students’ records and translated their test data into percentiles- now it is very clear to me. Thanks so much!” Read More…

Do you know how to bring a Wrightslaw Training to your city? Click here to find out how!

 We look forward to seeing you in 2015!

Print Friendly

Tags:   · · · · · · · · No Comments.

It’s Your Chance To Talk – Please do!

by Wrightslaw

We were happy to find this email in our inbox!

Dear Wrightslaw,

I think that the information you are collecting from your survey must be helping you greatly, to update your material and keep pace with today’s families.

I appreciate all the spot on and accurate information your site provides.

I was very happy you added a new letter for parents in your newsletter. The story about how to collect data and assert rights at a meeting was very helpful.

Exactly! That’s our mission

to provide accurate, up-to-date information about special education law and advocacy.

This is why we asked your advice in our Creative Ideas and Website Satisfaction Survey.

When you participate in the Survey:

  • your responses help us select new features and content for the website
  • your suggestions help us meet the needs of our readers
  • you help us make decisions about future programs and products
  • you help shape the future growth of Wrightslaw

If you have not responded to the Survey, please take the time to do it now.  It will only take a few minutes.

Because your time is valuable, after you complete the survey, you can download a little gift as our appreciation for your advice, help, and support.

Thank you!

Print Friendly

Tags:   No Comments.