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Live Blogging from the Institute of Special Education Advocacy 2013 – Please Join Us!

by Wrightslaw

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Wrightslaw is live blogging from the Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) all week. We hope you will join us!

Today’s topics include:

  • Understanding Evaluations, Tests & Measurements
  • Behavioral Issues in Schools
  • Experts as Fellow Advocates / Witnesses
  • Discipline
  • Advocacy for Child in the Delinquency System: Reversing the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Day 1    Day 2      Day 3     Day 4       Day 5


3:26 pm  Wrightslaw

Advocacy for Children in the Delinquency System: Reversing the School-to- Prison Pipeline

Joe Tulman – Director the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law’s (UDC-DCSL) Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic.

The US is the most incarcerated country!

Part of the Problem –

  • Children from low-income families
  • Children of color
  • Children with disabilities

School-to-Prison Pipeline

  • Failure to educate generally
  • Failure to comply with IDEA
  • Suspension & expulsion
  • Lack of transition services

Discussion of special education strategy for change. The negative impact of suspension – it’s counter productive.

Other approaches for reversing the school to prison pipeline. Alternatives to juvenile detention. Destroying the incentive to push kids out.

Statutory basis 20 USC 1415 (k)(6)

Assignment – class work: problem solving strategies (special education and the stages of a delinquency case).


  • “Breaking Schools’ Rules”
  • Teske and Huff
  • Missouri Model


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1:39 pm  Wrightslaw

Discipline of Children with Special Needs

Bill Reichhardt, Attorney

Procedural protections for children who have yet to be found eligible.

When the school is deemed to have knowledge of a child’s disability.

Review of:

  • Short and long term suspensions
  • Ten day rule
  • Removals that act as placement changes
  • Repeated, cumulative, consecutive
  • Continuation of services
  • Expulsions
  • In school suspensions

Manifestation Determination Review

MDR – Required legal process done by the IEP Team. If a manifestation, the disciplinary suspension must end and the behavior must be addressed through the IEP process.

Preparing for the MDR – tactics from the trenches.

FBA / Development of a BIP / modification of the BIP

Discussion of special circumstances when MDR is not required.

When the behavior is not a manifestation the student is subject to the same discipline as others without a disability (but services continue).

Exclusion prevention discussion.

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11:55 am  Wrightslaw

Experts as Fellow Advocates / Witnesses –

 with Harry Gewanter – Richmond, Virginia pediatrician and pediatric rheumatologist in private practice and the Associate Medical Director of Medial Home Plus, Inc.

“You can’t live without them – can’t shoot them.”

Dr. Gewanter begins with a discussion of what you need to assess about an expert – benefits v. potential conflicts.

What you may need to teach your expert.

Role of an Expert in a Special Education Case-

with Bill Reichhardt, Esquire, Fairfax, VA

When do I need an expert? Consider the “diagnostic disconnect” – the  agreement on the nature and scope of a child’s disability.

  • Determination of accurate medical and/or psychological diagnosis
  • Impact of diagnosis on student’s ability to learn or behavior
  • Most effective methodology for teaching or behavior modification

How an expert works with a special education advocate and forms of expert information. Review of how to prepare an expert for collaboration in a special education case.

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10:54 am  Wrightslaw

Behavior Issues in Schools

Emily Suski, Assistant Clinical Professor at Georgia State University College of Law

Joe Tulman, Director the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law’s (UDC-DCSL) Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic.

Child Find and RTI.  RTI can be done simultaneously but cannot delay an evaluation. 34 CFR 300.304-300.311. OSEP Opinion 11-7, Jan 21, 2011

Behavioral issues and special education eligibility – provision of FAPE. Adverse impart on educational performance: tie the behavioral issues to the disability. Advocates job to get everyone on the same track.

Disability categories – you need to know both federal and your state categories.

Eligibility and good grades and adverse impact.

Behavioral Issues and Section 504 – entitles students to accommodations. If you suspect a disability, you must evaluate. 504 plan – advantages / disadvantages.

Behavioral Issues and the IEP

  • Present Levels / Needs and goals must be aligned per IDEA
  • IEP goals / Progress
  • Related Services
  • Parent training in the IEP

 Functional Behavior Assessments and BIPs

Supposed to determine the “cause” of the behavior – not all FBAs are “good” ones. Very little guidance about contents FBAs in the regulations.

Review of bullying and special education – the bully and/or the victim with an IEP.

Jeffrey Breit  joins the ISEA Class of 2013 for sessions today.

Jeffrey Breit, 2008-2009 St. George Tucker Adjunct Professor of Law and partner at Breit, Drescher, & Imprevento.

Jeffrey provided the impetus to create the PELE Special Education Advocacy Clinic at William and Mary.


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9:08 am  Wrightslaw

Psychometrics 101 by Beth Heller, Ph.D., LCP, NCSP,

Virginia Commonwealth University

Why do we measure?

Scales of Measurement and terminology.

  • mean
  • median
  • mode
  • Measures of central tendency
  • skewed distribution
  • dispersion
  • range
  • variance
  • standard deviation
  • raw scores
  • standard scores
  • conversion of scores
  • percentiles
  • age/grade equivalents
  • scatter
  • ……

Key Concepts:

  • Standard Error of Measurement (SEM)
  • Confidence Interval
  • Statistical Significance
  • Validity
  • Reliability
  • Test Reviews
  • Regression v failure to progress

How to request test information?  What to request?

Graphing and charting scores.

Classwork / practice examples.

Check PAR website – Bell curve diagrams

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Tags:   · · · 6 Comments

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6 Comments on "Live Blogging from the Institute of Special Education Advocacy 2013 – Please Join Us!"

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08/01/2013 1:45 pm

This may sound like a chicken or the egg type of question.

I have seen data where there is a high number of individuals serving time who have a below average IQ. I have often wondered how our public school’s pipeline is impacting this figure.

With “The Mathew Effect”, the enviornment and resources can significantly effect an IQ.

Are the masses in prison due to a lower IQ or is their lower IQ attributed to the educational path their school officials elected to put them on, eliminating other options for their lives?

Parents need to be aware that the School… Read more »

07/30/2013 4:45 pm

I am really concerned about the school to prison pipeline Mr. Tulman speaks about. He is so right about the districts not meeting academic needs, not complying with IDEA and an absolute disregard for transition plans. Our school district is so openly hostile and they seem to want to provoke the children, like they want them to become disciplinary problems. I wish I was at the seminar. It sounds very informative! Have a great day!

07/30/2013 9:30 am

We are teaching advocates, attorneys, and law students how to understand tests and measurements, not to administer and interpret them. There is a big difference.

It is necessary for advocates, attorneys, and law students to understand basic psychometrics and what tests are designed to measure in order to be effective advocates for children with special needs.

07/30/2013 9:04 am

I hope it is a wonderful fruitful week there, and I wish I could be with you!

07/30/2013 8:54 am

I am not understanding how during a training session potential advocates are expected to learn how to understand evaluation “tests”. I am speaking primarily of intellectual functioning instruments. Psychologists and Diagnosticians take several classes (and a masters degree is required) and many hours of continuing education to accomplish what you say you can teach in a training seminar? I am having difficulty determining the reliability of this.