The Wrightslaw Way

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New! at Wrightslaw: Allergies / Anaphylaxis

by Pete Wright

A child with an allergy, asthma, even diabetes, has an “episodic” condition which, as a result of the amendments to ADA, normally qualifies the public school child for the protections of 504 and the private school child / day care youngster, for the protections of ADA.

New at Wrightslaw!  We have created a new Allergies / Anaphylaxis page at

Food Allergy Research and Education

At the Food Allergy Research & Education Association (FARE) annual conference, I did a 5 hour presentation about allergies and anaphylaxis. The focus was on 504 and ADA and very little on IDEA.

Conference attendees received a CD-ROM that included almost 60 files. The CD included pdf copies of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd. Ed., Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Ed., our video about writing Due Process and Complaint letters.

Many of the files on the CD-ROM were:

  • cases
  • complaints filed in federal court
  • US Dept of Justice complaints and settlement letters
  • manuals for use by schools regarding life-threatening allergies
  • comprehensive guidelines for schools recently issued by the Center for Disease Control in collaboration with FARE

We have uploaded the files provided to the FARE attendees to our new Allergies / Anaphylaxis page. [Read more →]

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School Ignores What My Child’s Doctor Recommends. Should I Get an Evaluation?

by Wrightslaw

My 10-year-old 4th grader will be in a new, grade-level building, in a gifted and talented classroom. He has been diagnosed severely ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and Tourettes. His doctor recommended a parapro in the classroom but the school principal said, “We don’t have the ability to provide a para.”

What is the obligation of the school to make that happen? Should I fight the school?

Should I get a private evaluation?

What would you advise…?

Sharon says: “I believe an evaluation should be done, but I would not pay for an outside evaluation. You should request an evaluation from the school. Sign their consent form immediately.

The 60 day requirement to get the testing done does not start until their consent form is signed.

When the test is complete you will sit down with the team and go over the results. Your son may test into getting help. [Read more →]

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Determining Evaluation Timelines

by Pete Wright

How long does a school have evaluate a child after a formal request is made and all consent paperwork is signed?

How many days before the school district is required to comply?

You have to be careful about asking questions of this nature. Often the answer you receive may be wrong!

Part of the answer is dependent on whether it is a new evaluation —  or a re-evaluation.

Learn how to find the answer yourself. [

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School Ends IEP: “Disability No Longer Affects Education”?

by Wrightslaw

I have an 8 year old in second grade who can now walk around after 80 different corrective surgeries. He has popliteal pterygium syndrome with his knees in a contracted position. His left leg is much shorter than the right. He is extremely tired when he walks for a long period of time. He also has a cleft plate and cleft lip so his speech can be difficult to understand.

The school removed him from an IEP because they said his physical disability no longer affects his educational performance.

Change of Placement

Removing your child from the IEP is a change of placement.

The school cannot unilaterally change placement without the entire team agreeing to it. Parents must be involved in placement decisions.

Your child’s disability category or label or severity of the disability – See more at:


Your child’s disability category or label or severity of the disability – See more at:
Your child’s disability category or label or severity of the disability – See more at:

Did you sign the IEP? You don’t have to. [Read more →]

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Learn How to Write a Parent Agenda

by Wrightslaw

Summer School 2014 – Parent Rights & Responsibilities in the IEP Process

Session 2: Identifying Problems, Clarifying Issues
Assignment #1: Write a Parent Agenda

Directions: Type your Parent Agenda in the message box below – then submit.

A Parent Agenda is a powerful tool that will tell your child’s story. The IEP Team can step into your child’s shoes and see the world through his eyes. Use the agenda to frame problems and develop solutions for your child.


  • Begin with “good news” not complaints.
  • Emphasize your shared responsibility with educators.
  • Use some of your child’s words.
  • Identify problems, express your concerns, make your requests, and offer solutions for your child.
  • Use facts to support each request.
  • Do not overtly blame or criticize the school.
  • Offer your support and appreciation for efforts made on behalf of your child.

If you need more review, turn to Chapter 25, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition, p. 261 or download the Sample Parent Agenda.

Session 2 of Summer School 2014 in the Special Ed Advocate.  Get a jump on your homework assignment by starting your Parent Agenda now.  Catch up on Session 1. Review  previous Wrightslaw Summer School Series.

Assignment #1. Directions: Type your parent agenda in the box below - then submit.

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Cool Tool: PAR Assessment Toolkit

by Wrightslaw

The PAR Assessment Toolkit was created to provide assistance to psychologists, mental health workers, and anyone else who administers standardized assessments. The scope of this application was in response to a Customer focus group where Customers conveyed their desire for specific tools to assist in their day to day assessment tasks.

This toolkit features several helpful tools such as:

  • Normal curve – an illustration of a standard bell curve is included for use in discussion with patients or other professionals. Either input data points in the input fields or use your finger!
  • Conversion chart – included to provide an error-free means of converting between t-scores, z-scores, percentiles, and standard score.
  • Age Calculator – save valuable time while guaranteeing accuracy with the age calculator. Just input the individual’s date of birth and receive their age in years, months, days. This calculator uses actual calendar days, not the approximation used by many clinicians.
  • Stopwatch – included is a stopwatch that assists monitoring timed assessments or performance tasks by counting up or counting down. The stopwatch also allows for the use of lap times.
  • Compliancy Calculator – many states and school districts have laws mandating how many days a psychologist has before a referral must be seen. Calculate the end date and never worry about incompliance through miscalculation.

These useful tools will save you time and effort, and in the end empower you to focus your time and energy on more important details. We have provided this app free of charge to further assist our Customers as well as continue our mission of Creating Connections. Changing Lives.

Look for future applications from PAR to assist your professional career in assessment.



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Limited Space Available for Lawrence, MA Conference on June 26

by Wrightslaw

Limited space available. Register today!

ABLED Advocacy invites you to join Pete Wright, Esq. for a Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training in Lawrence, MA on June 26, 2014.

Registration fee includes morning and afternoon refreshments, lunch, and three Wrightslaw books.

Register Online or Download the Mail-In Registration Form.

For all conference details, please click here.

Proceeds from the conference will be put towards subsidizing special needs advocate services for children in need.

See you in Massachusetts!


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What You Need to Know Before Filing a State Complaint!

by Wrightslaw

Your state Department of Education must develop a system to provide information about state complaint procedures and how to resolve parent-school complaints.

  • Take care when you use your state complaint system (or OCR).
  • Use complaints only if you can prove that the school is breaking the law.
  • Never base a complaint on what someone tells you.

Writing State Complaint Letters

Find our what the attorney and the lay advocate need to know. When do you start the preparation for the letter? What are the first steps before putting pen to paper? Who is your target audience – you are writing the letter for who? Are you sure?

Read the new OSEP guidance for State Complaint procedures and get links to sample letters. [Read more →]

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State Complaint, Non-Compliance: “The School is Trying to Intimidate Me!”

by Wrightslaw

I filed a state complaint for non-compliance with the IEP. My son’s teacher and aide are not familiar with autism. He sits in the corner of the room and does nothing. They are not following the IEP.  School staff falsified documentation, changed dates, and did not tell the truth at the last IEP meeting, so we ended the meeting.  I will bring an advocate when we reconvene.

They emailed me that the CEO of the school will attend the next meeting. Is this to intimidate me?

Who cares if the CEO of the school comes to the meeting? Here’s what I would do…. [Read more →]

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