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Federal Legal Requirements: Meeting the Communication Needs of Students with Disabilities

by Wrightslaw

New guidance on the rights of students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities.

Students with disabilities, like all students, must be provided the opportunity to fully participate in our public schools.

A critical aspect of participation is communication with others.

November 12, 2014: U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued Joint Guidance (Letter to Educators) about the rights of public elementary and secondary students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities to effective communication.

Public schools are responsible for ensuring that communication with students who have hearing, vision, or speech disabilities is as effective as communication with all other students.

Three Federal laws address the obligations of all public schools to meet the communication needs of students with disabilities. [Read more →]

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Where Can I Find Names of Reading Tests?

by Wrightslaw

My son will enter 6th grade, 3 years behind in reading. I think he has dyslexia. The school states he is “making progress.” I requested all his reading tests that show “progress.”

Please tell me the name of the tests the school should have performed when screening for reading.

What tests should they have used for an educational evaluation?

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that affects language.

A child with dyslexia will have difficulty reading accurately and fluently. Spelling will be poor. Most children with dyslexia have weaknesses in phonological processing. Many also have weaknesses in rapid naming.

Most standardized, norm-referenced tests that are used to test for learning disabilities are also used to evaluate children for dyslexia.

But no test measures all reading skills. Different tests measure different skills.

Reading Assessments

If you want to get up to speed on tests that are used to measure reading skills… [Read more →]

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Reminder – Wrightslaw Training Coming to the “Tropics of Texas”…

by Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw conference in McAllen, TX - venueRegister Today!

McAllen, Texas that is! Sponsor, TeamMario welcomes Pete Wright, Esq., to the southern tip of Texas in the Rio Grande Valley for a Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training on November 6, 2014.

Registration includes Continental breakfast, afternoon snack and three Wrightslaw books.

Early Bird Registration ends on September 30, 2014 so Register Online Today!

Download the registration form

Download and share the conference flyer.

Are you interested in becoming a vendor at this conference? If so, contact Christine Clifford by calling 979-492-1062 or email   info |at|

See you in McAllen, TX!


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How Can I Get My Son’s IEP Updated for College?

by Pete Wright

teen boy at lockersMy son’s IEP was last updated in 3rd grade. He is now a senior at a private christian school. How can I get his IEP updated for college?

There are several issues in your question.

Private Schools and IEPs

Does a private school have to provide an IEP for a child with a disability?

Answer: No. IDEA 2004 does not apply to private schools.

Private Placement and IEPs

Does the public school have to provide that child with an IEP? [Read more →]

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Reminder! Wrightslaw Training Coming to Grand Rapids, MI

by Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw venue in Grand Rapids, MIDon’t Miss Out! Coming This Weekend!

Wrightslaw Training coming to Grand Rapids, MI on November 1, 2014! Join speaker Wayne Steedman, Esq., and sponsors the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan and the Kent Independent School District.

This Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Conference includes a light breakfast, refreshments and two Wrightslaw books, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition. Lunch is on your own.

6 State Continuing Education Clock Hours will be available for a $5 fee made payable at the conference. Cash only please.

For all conference details to include registration fees, scholarships and accommodations, please click here.

See you in Grand Rapids, MI!

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IEP Services – Not happening!

by Wrightslaw

Our school divides the intervention specialist’s time for each class period between 2 classrooms. The specialist is only working with my child for half the class period. Or, the specialist divides her time by spending only 2 days a week in a class.

My daughter is not getting the full benefit of the help outlined in her IEP.

Does the school district have full discretion with the schedule or are they required to provide a certain amount of time in each class?

Your child’s IEP drives the services.

  • What does the IEP say?
  • How are the services outlined?

IDEA requires specific information about the frequency, duration, location, and projected dates for services be included in the IEP.

US Department of Education published a Model IEP Form that provides the format to record required information about services.

The frequency and duration of related services should be specific, not state as a range.

Does your child’s IEP include?… [

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The Root of the Problem? Rock-Bottom Reading Skills!

by Wrightslaw

- by guest blogger Kalman R. Hettleman, former member of the Baltimore school board, former state human resources secretary, and tireless advocate for children with disabilities.

“Disabled students aren’t as disabled as you think. It is legally and morally wrong for the learning potential of students with disabilities to be underestimated.

How can students with disabilities be expected to meet the same high standards as their non-disabled peers?

Well, not all can, but many more than imagined should.

As reported by the National Center on Education Outcomes (NCEO), the leading research institute on accountability in special education, The vast majority of special education students (80-85 percent) can meet the same achievement standards as other students if they are given specially designed instruction, appropriate access, supports and accommodations as required by federal law.

The disbelief in the learning capacity of students with disabilities stems from the failure to understand the wide range of legally-recognized disabilities under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). [Read more →]

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Reminder! Wrightslaw Training Coming to Mesa, Arizona!

by Wrightslaw

Mesa Convention Center

Join Pete Wright, Esq., and sponsors, Pathways School and Parent Support Arizona on Thursday, October 30, 2014 for this one-day Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training.

The conference will take place at the Mesa Convention Center in Mesa, Arizona.

Conference includes lunch, afternoon snacks and refreshments and four Wrightslaw 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.

Register online now!

Download and share the conference flyer.

See you in Arizona!

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School Says IEP is “All or Nothing!”

by Wrightslaw

I was told by the Special Ed Director that an IEP is all or nothing. You either agree to the whole thing, or you decide you don’t want your child to have special ed.

He said, “We can’t just have parents saying, I’ll choose this part, but not that part, and picking apart our IEP. Then, there’s no way to evaluate whether our plan is working.”

How do I keep SOME special ed services in place?

The school may not use your refusal to consent to one service to deny other services, benefits, or activities in your child’s IEP.

Your Special Ed Director may not be familiar with what the Federal Regulations actually say.

(34 C.F.R. § 300.300(d)(3))

(3) A public agency may not use a parent’s refusal to consent to one service or activity under paragraphs (a) or (d)(2) of this section to deny the parent or child any other service, benefit, or activity of the public agency, except as required by this part. [Read more →]

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