The Wrightslaw Way

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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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Action Alert: Tell Virginia to Adopt Safeguards to Protect Children in School!

by Wrightslaw

  • Did you know Virginia currently has no laws or regulations about when and how children can be restrained or secluded in public schools?
  • There are no regulations restricting restraint and seclusion to emergencies.
  • Virginia families do not even have the right to know if their child was restrained or secluded.

Your input is needed immediately!  Speak up for students across the Commonwealth.  Tell Virginia to adopt safeguards to protect children in school.

The Virginia Commission on Youth (COY) is studying the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools.  On September 16, COY released their recommendations on restraint and seclusion.

Your input on their recommendations is needed ASAP!   Public comment closes on October 13.

Please take 2 minutes now to do the following:

1.     Urge the Commission to support Option B1: “requiring the Board of Education to promulgate regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint in public schools” consistent with the U.S. Department of Education’s 15 Principles on Seclusion & Restraint and Virginia’s 2009 DOE Guidelines.

a)     Speak up in support of Option B1 by sending an email to Amy Atkinson, Commission on Youth:  Feel free to include details about why you care about this issue OR

b)     Fax/mail your comments as follows: fax to 804-371-0574, mail: Commission on Youth, General Assembly Building, Ste. 269, Richmond, VA 23219.

2.     Attend the next meeting of the Commission on Youth: 1:00 on October 20, House Room C of the General Assembly Building.

3.     Spread the word!  Encourage friends, family members, students and colleagues to speak up to keep children safe.  Ask them to send an email supporting Option B1.

Learn the details from the Virginia Coalition for School Safety. Speak Up for Students Across the Commonwealth!

Virginia Special Education

Virginia Special Education Legislative Advocacy

Virginia Special Education News

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Ask the Evaluator: Teacher Resources for Dyslexia Screening

by Wrightslaw

teacher and student girl reading in schoolA new state law requires reading interventionists to screen all students in grades K-2 and new students in our district for dyslexia. We have to complete 2 hours of training in dyslexia screening, intervention, accommodations, and using technology.

The state DOE has not made any recommendations about the best screening method.  As a district, we use DIBELS to screen our K-2 students. What’s the best method of screening?

We also need professional development resources.

From Dr. Melissa Farrall, co-author of Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments

Screening Children

DIBELS-N and AIMSweb are both good ways to screen young children.

I also find it very helpful to have children recite the alphabet. [Read more →]

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Back to School Sale! 25% OFF

by Wrightslaw

Don’t miss our 2014

Back to School Sale!

25% OFF all products in the Wrightslaw Store

Wrightslaw Books, Training CD’s, and Advocacy Supplies

Sale Ends Midnight, Thursday, September 25, 2014.

If ordering online is not your thing or you need to order in quantity…just give us a call. Use our toll free line at 877-529-4332.

Take advantage of the savings and order today!

Here’s to a Successful School Year!
Pam & Pete Wright
and the Wrightslaw Staff

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I’ve Never Heard That I Could Request School Files

by Wrightslaw

I read an IEP guide that says you can request a copy of the student’s file. I have never heard of that before.

Can I request a copy of the files from my child’s school? Before requesting anything, I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing.

The law that governs your right to view your child’s records is the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

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

Under FERPA, parents have a right to have access to their children’s educational records.

FERPA requires that the school comply with a parent’s request for access to the student’s records within 45 days of the receipt of a request.

You are not automatically entitled to copies of your child’s records, except under specific circumstances. You may be charged a fee for the copies.

Generally, a school is required to provide copies of education records to a parent if the failure to do so would prevent the parent from exercising the right to inspect and review the records. [Read more →]

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Starting a New IEP Advocacy Year: Back to School Tips

by Wrightslaw

It’s that time again!

For parents of children with special needs, “back to school” means the start of a new IEP advocacy year. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Get your back to school supplies for parents. Find out what you’ll need to help keep documents in order.

2. Update the school nurse on health or medication changes.

3. Initiate contact and educate the new teacher and school staff.

4. Make a plan for monitoring your child’s progress on a regular basis.

5. Get a baseline picture of your child. Get your child a check-up, update, or follow-up check by your own therapists / specialists.

6. Catch up on new legal developments in special education law with recent developments and important older cases.

Read all the tips and case law summaries from Attorney Lisa Krizman in Starting a New IEP Advocacy: Back to School Tips

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