The Wrightslaw Way

to Special Education Law and Advocacy

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Discontinuing Services? Not So Fast!!

by Pam Wright

school girl writingMy 12 yr old daughter has had an IEP for 5 years for deficits in written communication skills.  A year before we were scheduled for a triennial evaluation, the school requested a data review.

Since she makes As and does well in school, the school intends to drop her IEP and discontinue services.


The school cannot unilaterally discontinue your daughter’s special education services unless you go along.

You need to be an effective advocate for your daughter.

Learn the legal requirements for eligibility.

Make sure you understand how eligibility decisions are made.

Comprehensive Evaluation

Before the school determined that your child WAS eligible for special ed services, they were required to do a comprehensive evaluation and assess all areas of suspected disability.

Before the school can determine that your daughter is NOT eligible for special ed services, they are required to do a comprehensive evaluation and assess all areas of suspected disability.

Has the school completed this comprehensive evaluation?

  • Do you have a copy?
  • Do you agree with the findings?

If you don’t agree, you may need to get an independent educational evaluation.

Please read this article about “Terminating Eligibility” now!

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Wrightslaw Training Coming to West Columbia, SC on September 11, 2015

by Wrightslaw

Pro-Parents of South Carolina is hosting a Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training on September 11, 2015 at Glenforest School, located at 1041 Harbor Drive, West Columbia, SC. Presenter Pete Wright, Esq.

Registration fee is $50
and includes a Wrightslaw Highlighter Pen 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. Lunch is not included.

The Hampton Inn
is offering a special conference room rate of $80.10 plus tax for the night of September 10, 2015. Rooms come with a free hot breakfast and WI-fi. Call 803-791-8940 and ask for the Sales Department. Request to amend confirmation #83426304 for the rooms under the Wrightslaw Conference reservation. Reservations must be made before August 20, 2015 to guarantee the $80.10 rate.

For all conference information, please click here.

See you in South Columbia, SC!

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Legal? Child Study Intervention Plan Instead of IEP

by Wrightslaw

school boy frustrated with workIs is legal to keep a child on a Child Study Intervention Plan for years after the eligibility process?

Interesting question from Virginia. Here are the facts we know.

  • Twice-exceptional child, ADHD/gifted and talented.
  • Good grades and yearly school test scores.
  • Psychological testing shows executive function defects, particularly processing speed, memory.
  • Written expression issues.

The child was evaluated by the school and found not eligible for a 504 plan or an IEP. The school team placed him on a “Child Study Intervention Plan.”

Q:  Isn’t Child Study supposed to be used during the eligibility process, and not for years after?

A: In general, yes.

There is no “child study intervention plan” in the federal law and regulations. [Read more →]

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Reminder! Wrightslaw Training Coming to Knoxville, TN on June 17, 2015

by Wrightslaw

Reminder! Wrightslaw Training in Knoxville, TN on Wednesday, June 17, 2015.

The ARC Tennessee is sponsoring this Wrightslaw Special Education Law and Advocacy Training.

Location: Knoxville Marriott in Knoxville, TN.
Speaker: Pete Wright
Date: June 17, 2015

Conference includes coffee/tea in the morning, lunch, afternoon snacks, a deluxe Wrightslaw highlighter pen and the four Wrightslaw books which retail for $77.80! Click here for all conference details!

See you in Knoxville!

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Requesting a 1 to 1: Be Careful What You Wish For!

by Wrightslaw

One-on-one paraprofessional aide with girl studentWhen parents request a one-to-one aide or paraprofessional for their child with a disability, they are often frustrated by the school district’s response.

Even when the district agrees to their request, parents may be dissatisfied with the results.

As an old saying goes, “It is never safe to assume.”

This warning also applies to assumptions about one-to-one aides.

Parents need to know

  • what they want
  • how to get it
  • what outcomes they expect

What is a One to One Aide?

Because misunderstandings are common, parents and school personnel must have a clear understanding about the child’s need for a one to one aide.

You need to clarify the settings in which your child needs the aide. [Read more →]

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Wrightslaw Training Coming to Raleigh, NC on September 9, 2015

by Wrightslaw

Sponsor, the Wake County Chapter of the Autism Society of North Carolina welcomes presenter Pete Wright, Esq. for this east coast Wrightslaw training. The NC State University’s McKimmon Center is the location for this special event.

Registration fee includes morning coffee and tea, lunch, a Wrightslaw highlighter pen and the four Wrightslaw book which retail for $77.80.

For all conference information to include registration fees, please click here.

Wrightslaw trainings are not disability or state specific.

See you in Raleigh, NC on September 9, 2015!


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The School is Taking Away My Son’s Para

by Wrightslaw

paraprofessional aide and student boyMy 4th grade son has a one-one para. He has autism, is easily distracted, and has a hard time staying on task.

The school said since he has no severe behaviors, they will take away his para. The principal said my son didn’t need a “crisis management” para.

Can the school just delete this from his IEP?

Documentation and Data!

You are an essential part of the IEP team that reviews and revises your son’s IEP. The IEP Team, not just the principal, develops the IEP based on your child’s unique needs.

Be prepared when you have your IEP meeting.

Have your documentation ready for the IEP meeting.  If you don’t have documentation, request it! [Read more →]

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Why Did the Teacher Give Us the SAME IEP as Last Year?

by Wrightslaw

boy reading in school libraryMy son’s special ed teacher decided to give us the same IEP from last year? Is this legal? She didn’t even make out a new one!

You are not alone.  We receive email every day with questions like yours.

The goals in my child’s IEP never change from one year to the next. “Evan will improve his reading skills” is in every IEP since he entered special ed four years ago.

Get out your Special Education Law book and get up to speed on your rights and your child’s rights.

Remember that:

  • IEPs must be reviewed annually
  • IEP goals should be specific, measurable, and tailored to the unique needs of your child
  • Parents are part of the team that develops and reviews the IEP

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Sleep Disorders, Truancy and Student Needs: A Complicated Mix

by Wrightslaw

I have a student with a sleep disorder and emotional issues.

How do the compulsory attendance laws and a student with special education needs intertwine?

Good question. All states have compulsory attendance laws. I am not aware of exceptions for children with disabilities, but suggest you contact your State Department of Education to find out if your state has exceptions.

  • Are the sleep issues a recent problem?
  • What do the parents say?
  • Is the child’s doctor aware of the frequent  absences and the impact they are having on his education? [Read more →]
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Parent Request: “No Restraint”

by Wrightslaw

serious boy at the school bus windowDoes the school system need parental consent to restrain a student with autism?

He has never had to be restrained before. He does not communicate well, but he is not a danger at all. They restrain him for silly reasons.

A Dangerous Intervention

The frustrating reality for children who cannot communicate well is that they are constantly misunderstood.

Restraint is a dangerous intervention that can lead to injury, trauma, or death in children.  You are wise to be concerned and to learn what your rights and your child’s rights are.

The special education law, IDEA 2004, requires the use of functional assessments of behavior and positive behavior support plans to address behavior challenges.

Open your law book, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition and start with these statutes and regulations:  1414(d)(3)(B)   1415(k)  34 CFR §300.324(a)(2)(i)  34 CFR §300.530(f)

Send a “No Restraint” Request

Write a letter to the Director of Special Education in your school or district. Note your concerns and that –

you have not authorized and will not consent to any activity that involves physically or mechanically restraining my child while at school or going to and from school

You will find a sample letter requesting “no restraint” here[Read more →]

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