The Wrightslaw Way

to Special Education Law and Advocacy

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Advocacy Self-Study Week 4: Link Up With Other Advocates

by Wrightslaw

In our self-study series for new advocates, we’ve posted about what you need to learn and what skills you need to acquire.

Last week we posted 10 tips for good advocates.

This week – two more tips.

Good advocates link up with other advocates and ask questions!

Advocates at the William and Mary Law School Institute of Special Education Advocacy ISEAThe best way to become a good advocate is by exposure.

If you wanted to catch the flu, you would hang out with folks who had the flu. If you want to become a good advocate, hang around with folks who do advocacy work. [Read more →]

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Wrightslaw Trainings Heading to the Carolinas in September!

by Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw programs are designed to meet the needs of parents, educators, health care providers, advocates and attorneys who represent children with disabilities regarding special education. Pete Wright, Esq., presents both Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training’s. Programs are not disability specific.

Two locations:

September 9, 2015 in Raleigh, NC – Conference fee includes morning coffee/tea, lunch, a Wrightslaw highlighter pen and the four Wrightslaw books which retail for $77.80 – Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition, Wrightslaw: All About IEPs and Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments. For all conference details to include registration fees, credit/units, please click here.

September 11, 2015 in West Columbia, SC – Conference fee includes a Wrightslaw highlighter pen and the four Wrightslaw books which retail for $77.80 – Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition, Wrightslaw: All About IEPs and Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments. Lunch is on your own. There are many eateries near the venue. For all conference details to include registration fees, credit/units, please click here.

See you in the Carolinas!

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Learn How to Ask the 5 W’s + H + E Questions

by Wrightslaw

School MeetingWhen you attend meetings with school personnel, you will meet staff who will tell you what to do and how to solve your problems (AKA Know-it-Alls).

  • They view themselves as experts and do not realize how they appear to others.
  • They are persistent people who will fight until they prevail.
  • They will get defensive and will fight to prove they are right.

How do you deal with Know-it-Alls?

What do you do when they withhold information or refuse to provide it?

1. Use facts and information to support your requests. Review your information and check your facts for accuracy.

2. Ask questions. Lots and lots of questions.

5 W’s + H + E Questions

Learn how to overcome obstacles by asking these questions: [Read more →]

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Self-Study Week 3: Tips for Good Advocates

by Wrightslaw

three advocatesThe law gives parents power to use in educational decisions for their children. Parents should not be afraid to use their power.

But, there are better ways to obtain positive results than to roar through IEP meetings in a Mack Truck.

Parents are often dealing with personal obstacles – lack of information, isolation, and emotions. What can you do?

Do you know?…

  • how to facilitate the IEP process
  • the art of negotiation
  • the interrelationship of laws
  • how to reduce barriers between parent and school

Indiana Advocate Pat Howey has great tips for effective, successful advocates.

1. Good advocates facilitate the IEP process.

Advocates must set an example for the entire IEP Team.

2. Good advocates know the child and understand the disability.

Do your homework before you attempt to advocate for a child. Research the child’s disability.

3. Good advocates try to reduce existing barriers between the parent and the school. [Read more →]

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DOJ Finds GA Violates ADA by Segregating Students with Disabilities

by Wrightslaw

On July 15, 2015, the United States sent its findings to the State of Georgia stating that the State’s administration of the Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Support (GNETS) program violates Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act by unnecessarily segregating students with disabilities from their peers in school.

The State fails to ensure that students with behavior-related disabilities receive services and supports that could enable them to remain in, or return to, the most integrated educational placements appropriate to their needs.

Read more at ADA: Information and Technical Assistance

DOJ Findings (PDF)

U.S. probe into Georgia special ed program could have national impact

“The Justice Department has accused Georgia of segregating thousands of students with behavior-related disabilities, shunting them into a program that denies them access to their non-disabled peers and to extracurricular activities and other basic amenities, including gymnasiums, libraries and appropriately certified teachers. [Read more →]

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Delivering the Promise of ADA in Our Schools

by Wrightslaw

  • A Denver charter school disenrolled a kindergarten student after finding out on orientation day that he had a mobility issue that would require him to use the school’s elevator. The school officials told the department it only handles ‘mild disabilities,’ and that they couldn’t ensure there would be an adult to ride the elevator with the student. ‘Well, they can now.’
  • Another student, with brittle-bone disease, was barred by her school from going on a field trip, because the school said it couldn’t guarantee her safety. The civil rights office intervened, and the school has purchased a special vehicle to accommodate her.
  • In a Colorado school, students with emotional disabilities were sent to an ‘alternate learning lab’ with no teacher. OCR worked with the school to make sure they were fully included.

‘Our kids are fully part of our schools,’ Catherine E. Lhamon, DOE assistant secretary for civil rights told the audience of disability-rights advocates. ‘We need to make sure the rights of our kids are realized.’

Below is the complete article by Christina Samuels on her Blog, On Special Education, about DOE’s celebration of the 25th Anniversary of the ADA . [Read more →]

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Schools Warned On Speech Services For Kids With Autism

by Wrightslaw

Preschooler and therapist“Federal education officials are reminding schools not to skimp on needed speech and language services for children with autism.

In a letter to states, officials from the U.S. Department of Education say they’ve heard that an increasing number of kids on the spectrum may not be receiving services from speech-language pathologists at school. Moreover, such professionals are frequently left out of the evaluation process and are often not present at meetings to determine what services a child should receive under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the department said.

Some IDEA programs may be including applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapists exclusively without including, or considering input from, speech-language pathologists and other professionals who provide different types of specific therapies that may be appropriate for children with ASD when identifying IDEA services for children with ASD, wrote Melody Musgrove, director of the Education Department’s Office of Special Education Programs, in the guidance sent this month. [Read more →]

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Sale Ends Wednesday, July 29, 2015! Wrightslaw Summer Sale!

by Wrightslaw

Don’t Put It Off! Order today and receive 25% Off and FREE Shipping on orders $35.00 and over!

Includes all Wrightslaw Books, E-Books, Training Downloads, Advocacy Supplies and DVD. Order Now!

Use Coupon Code 20150716 when ordering to receive your discount! Sale ends July 28, 2015!

Need a large amount of books? Everyday save up 50% when ordering in bulk. Call 877-529-4332 to receive a quote today!

Thank you for using Wrightslaw Materials!

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Self-Study Week 2: Read One Book a Month Plan

by Wrightslaw

Man reading at the librarySo you want to be an advocate for your child!

  • What do you need to learn?
  • What skills do you need to acquire?

Parents are far more likely to succeed when they negotiate for special education services when they –

1. are knowledgeable about their children’s rights (and their own rights and responsibilities)

2. know how to use tactics and strategies

Read everything you can find about special education, disabilities, and how children learn.

If you follow the Book a Month Plan, you’ll have the necessary knowledge and skills to be an effective advocate before the year is out. [Read more →]

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Eligible for Services? First “Yes,” then “No.” I’m Confused

by Wrightslaw

mom with preschool childrenThe evaluation report from our school says my 3 year old (with high functioning autism) is not eligible for services when he transitions from Early Intervention. The evaluation report says “no delay or disability” – “not eligible”.

Then, a copy of the “not eligible” report came with a letter saying our son was eligible for services and invited us to an IEP Meeting. Why did they plan a meeting if he isn’t eligible?

Transitioning out of Early Intervention can be confusing.

If you have questions and concerns, write a letter to the school.

  • Make your letter polite and business-like.
  • Describe the problem and your proposed solution.
  • Ask what the school plans to do for your child.

Create your paper trail. Keep a record of all correspondence with the school.  Document any conversation you have with school personnel, then follow-up with a letter confirming what you understood the school to have said.

Eligibility Meeting

Having a meeting to determine if a student is eligible or not for services is in accordance with federal regulations. [Read more →]

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