The Wrightslaw Way

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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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3rd Circuit Will Hear Food Allergy Discrimination Case

by Wrightslaw

A case involving a kindergarten student with a tree nut allergy has the potential to set a precedent for food-allergy-related accommodations in a federal appellate court.

Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), joined by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief Friday in the civil rights case, T.F. vs. Fox Chapel Area School District, in the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, one step below the U.S. Supreme Court.

A federal judge previously ruled that:

  • the school district did not discriminate against the child in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act,
  • the school offered reasonable accommodations
  • the school did not retaliate against the child’s parents when it filed a truancy petition against the parents after they withdrew their child from school

One accommodation offered by the school was “special lunch seating at a nut-free table” that was actually a single desk in the cafeteria. [Read more →]

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Dyslexia: An Ounce of Prevention

by Wrightslaw

“It is a sobering fact: dyslexia affects up to twenty percent of the population and it has very specific symptoms.”

Kelli Sandman-Hurley, ED.D., explains that students who have dyslexia “…will always have dyslexia, and those students with more moderate to profound dyslexia will always encounter difficulties and will almost always need some accommodations to help them reach their potential …”

“For many parents and their dyslexic children, the label of dyslexia frees them from years of asking themselves why reading and writing are so hard…”

What happens when educators don’t have the information they need to prevent reading and writing failure?

Read Dyslexia: An Ounce of Prevention by Kelli Sandman-Hurley, ED.D.

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When Can We Add Accommodations to the IEP?

by Wrightslaw

I am a Special Education high school teacher.  The special ed administrator will not allow the Team to add an accommodation at the annual IEP meeting.  We can only add accommodations at the three year reevaluation so that tests used for reevaluation will back any new accommodation. Is this legal?

A student’s needs – based on his strengths and weaknesses in the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance – drive the IEP.

These strengths and weaknesses help the IEP Team (the whole IEP Team – not just one teacher/administrator) decide on the individualized accommodations that are appropriate for a child.

The present levels should be updated every time the IEP Team meets.

When Can You Revise the IEP?

A parent can request their child’s IEP be revised at any time.

A parent, teacher, or related services provider may decide that a child’s IEP needs to reviewed/revised early, before the annual review, without waiting 3 years for the triennial reevaluation. [Read more →]

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Does FERPA Guarantee Student Confidentiality in the Classroom?

by Wrightslaw

I have two children in a public special ed class who are in the medically dependent children program through the state. They have nurses who go with them to school. The school told me that the nurses can not be present in the room during instruction time due to FERPA-that they are violating the privacy of the other students.

I thought FERPA only applied to records. Is there something I am missing?

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal statute. The purposes of FERPA are twofold:

  • to ensure that parents have access to their children’s educational records
  • to protect the privacy rights of parents and children by limiting access to these records without parental consent

FERPA regulates education records, nothing more. [

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Pre-Pub Special Ends May 20th! New Book! Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments

by Wrightslaw

At the printer now!

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments by Melissa Lee Farrall, Ph.D., SAIF, Pamela Darr Wright, MA MSW, and Peter W. D. Wright, Esq.

Take advantage of this special pre-publication offer: 25% OFF

Pre-pub price $11.22

Regular Price $14.95

This special offer is good from Tuesday, May 6 through Tuesday, May 20, 2014.

Pre-publication orders will be shipped during the second week of June 2014. If you order additional products, they will be shipped right away!

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments

  • answers more than 200 of our readers’ frequently asked questions about psychological, academic, and neuropsychological tests and assessments
  • answers questions about speech-language, physical and occupational therapy, sensory, motor, and behavior assessments
  • includes charts of tests that assess specific problems and charts of the skills that your child needs to master

Learn more

Review the Table of Contents

Download a free chapter about Reading Assessments

Read Early Reviews

You will receive 25% OFF all Wrightslaw products in the Wrightslaw Store during this Special Pre-pub Offer!

Order today!

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POLL: Is Your School Doing a Great Job?

by Wrightslaw

The results of the 2013 Nation’s Report Card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), show that fourth- and eighth-graders made incremental progress in math and reading.

The scores show one- and two-point gains (on a score of 0-500) compared with the 2011 tests. Average reading scores for eighth-graders just barely rose, after stagnating for about a decade.

In spite of the poor national results, parents often think their local school is doing a good job. If all local schools are doing a great job, why such poor results on the nation’s report card?

We wondered how you felt your school was doing.

Is your school doing a good job of educating ALL kids, including those kids who aren’t easy to educate? If you had to give them a grade, what would it be?

Good job educating ALL kids? Give your school a grade...

View Results

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If you have more specific information to add about your how your school is doing, use the comment section below.

Do you know how your school compares to schools in other states?

How is Your State Performing?

Click on the map to find out how your state is performing. [Read more →]

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