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

by Wrightslaw

Wednesday, July 31, 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:

  • Strategies for Working with Parents
  • Making the Case for Eligibility
  • Section 504 & the ADA
  • ADA case against NYS Board of Law Examiners
  • Strategies for Working with Schools
  • IEP Strategies

Day 1    Day 2      Day 3     Day 4       Day 5


3:27 pm  Wrightslaw

IEP Strategies

Patty Roberts, Angela Ciolfi, Emily Suski

Case studies – class problem solving


  • Present Levels in the IEP (strengths, needs, goals)
  • Meaningful Participation in the IEP meeting / recording meetings
  • Related Services / Agreeing to what’s offered- or not? (changing OT from direct services to consult)
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1:51 pm  Wrightslaw

Strategies for Working with Schools

Angela Ciolfi, legal director of JustChildren, a program of the Legal Aid Justice Center, and

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

Top Ten Strategies for Getting Meaningful Outcomes without Getting Mean

What would you do to get more meaningful outcomes?

You need to know: the child, the client, the law!

Who does the school attorney represent? Who can a parent bring to the IEP meeting?

Know how to write “The Letter to the Stranger.

Prepare, prepare, prepare. Assemble all of your documentation. Review forms prior to the meeting. If possible, resolve basic issues with the school before the meeting (rather than using time during the meeting.)

Be realistic and open-minded.  Ask lots of questions! Ask for research. Write things down to frame the issues – send your letter describing what happened in the meeting asking for a response as to agreement with the issues. (You own PWN of sorts).

Avoid litigation.


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1:05 pm  Wrightslaw

ADA case against NYS Board if Law Examiners

Dr. Marilyn Bartlett joins us for lunch from Austria via Skype to tell us-

in Her Own Words: Bartlett v. The New York Board of Law Examiners

Marilyn Bartlett, a person who has dyslexia, sued the NY Board of Law Examiners for refusing to provide reasonable accommodations on the bar examination.

What is the Bartlett case? Learn more about Marilyn Bartlett and this case.

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12:12 pm  Wrightslaw

Section 504 and the ADA

Kayla Bower, Director of the Oklahoma Disability Law Center

“I am in love with 504.”

Key difference in 504 and IDEA.  No money for school districts (just general funding) under 504.

Requirement to exhaust remedies.

504 these days. ADA and 504 protections parallel. New ADAAA requirements.

OCR Letter 1/19/12 – know and be sure the school knows. Use your highlighter to mark the “jewels” in this letter (share a copy with the school.)

covers many (maybe most?) disabilities. refer to non-exhaustive list stated in letter

Shifting the inquiry in education away from disability. A very broad shape of protections, rejected the burdens imposed by previous court cases.

Also protected is “regarded” as having a disability.

**Read Rowley! Know the case law and regulations about FAPE provisions in 504 and eligibility.

OCR Letter 1/25/13

Medical Perspectives on Section 504 and Eligibility

Dr. Harry Gewanter, pediatrician and pediatric rheumatologist.

US DOE FAQs about 504.

Section 504 does require that school districts provide FAPE.  The new listings for major life activities is extensive. If you have a problem that is getting in your way in some fashion, you are potentially eligible.

Now much easier to meet the language and the guidance.

You don’t have to be affected at the moment.  Just because you are doing well now, doesn’t mean condition has gone away.  Schools have used this excuse forever. Anyone with a chronic condition would benefit from a 504 plan in place, even though they are doing well at the moment.

Accommodations can be across the board. Behavioral, physical, organizational, educational, social, vocational.

Medical Diagnosis Sources:  ICD 10, DSM 5

504 accommodations can provide a safety net for many students.

If something is predictable it is potentially preventable. These workarounds for prevention can go into a 504 plan. Not just a “health plan” but a Section 504 plan that has legal standing.

Dr. Gewanter provided samples of letters physicians can use to assist parents:

  •  request letters for a Child Study
  • 504 support letters
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10:57 am  Wrightslaw

Making the Case for Eligibility

Patty Roberts, Director of Clinical Programs and Supervisor of the PELE Special Education Advocacy Clinic at William and Mary.

Child find duty. School’s responsibility.

Response to Intervention RTI. Tension with the child find obligation.

OSEP memo and RTI and IDEA obligation.

Common RTI issues.

  • parental consent
  • review of existing data
  • requirements for evals
  • timelines
  • private evaluations, IEEs, written requests, PWN

DSM-5: Changes to note.

Eligibility Meeting- requirements.

Educational diagnosis v medical diagnosis.

Suggestions for more effective involvement in eligibility decisions.

  • look at old records
  • organize info based on eligibility criteria
  • consider possibility of 504 accommodations
  • ask for district guidelines
  • put everything in written

Eligibility denied – now what?

  •  Need to request FBA?
  • Work directly with individual teachers

Congress left to states the definition of learning disability.  Varies widely across states.

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9:03 am  Wrightslaw

Strategies for Working with Parents

Indiana Advocate Pat Howey

Special education advocacy is what you do – it is not who you are.

Rule #1 – You can’t fix everything. Rule #2 – You can’t change rule #1.

What to do and what to avoid. Tactics, tips, and techniques for advocates. Important issues.

  • screening clients
  • identifying problems
  • basics of working though client problems
  • turning down clients
  • letters of agreement
  • ethical dilemmas
  • terminating clients
  • parent report / agenda-strengths, challenges, needs, goals & objectives
  • content of the IEP…
  • accommodations and modifications
  • corporal punishment in schools
  • school emergency plans
  • Transition

How to prepare for the IEP meeting. Basic advocacy tips.

Review the Dephi Technique. Facilitated IEPs.

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

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07/31/2013 1:47 pm

What an amazing lunch – our “conversation” with Dr. Bartlett was incredibly moving and inspirational