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Wrightslaw Training Coming to Grand Rapids, MI

by Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw venue in Grand Rapids, MIWrightslaw 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.

Register Now! Early Bird ends October 6, 2014!

See you in Grand Rapids, MI!

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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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Where Does it Say in the Law That……?

by Wrightslaw

At Wrightslaw, how can we tell that school has started?  Questions from parents (and teachers) are pouring in each day.

I have a question about…who has to attend IEP meetings? goals in the IEP?

How do I search for information about… a special ed teacher revising the IEP?  behavior and discipline strategies?

Where do I look for…appropriate modifications? social and communication skills info?

We are always a little surprised when people write, “I just can’t find any answers to my questions.”

Tips: Looking for info, getting started!

1. Go to and scroll through the topics on the left hand side of the page, A-Z.

Or, check the Topics page.

Or, use the google search box on any Wrightslaw page. Enter the search terms for the information you need.

Then, take time to read through the links listed in the results of your search. We bet you’ll find your answer there, along with legal cites to back up the answers and strategies for what to do next.

2. Search for answers in your Wrightslaw books.

Remember, if you have the PDF copy of our books, you can use the “search / find” feature in your reader to locate information and search terms. [Read more →]

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Wrightslaw Training Coming to Wilton, CT – Two Years Running!

by Wrightslaw

A thank you goes out to sponsor Advocate by Faith, for bringing Wrightslaw to Wilton, CT for the second year!

On Thursday, October 23, 2014, Wrightslaw presents a one-day special education law and advocacy training for parents, advocates, educators, related service providers and attorneys. The agenda will follow the format of the standard “6 hour agenda“. The presentation will also include issues faced by parents of children with emotional disturbance, allergies, add, dyslexia, other Heath impairments and behaviors.

Registration includes morning coffee, boxed lunch, afternoon snack and three Wrightslaw books. 0.6 CEU’s (continuing education units) have been approved for this conference.

Register Online Today!

Download and share the conference flyer!

Meet and Greet Information Coming Soon!

See you in Wilton, CT!

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Our Neuro-psych Never Told Me He Would NOT Be the Evaluator!

by Pat Howey

I paid for a private neuropsychological evaluation. The doctor ‘never told me’ that he would not be the one testing.

I was surprised when a school psychologist who works with the neuropsych gave the tests. Is this what’s supposed to happen?

If your child needs a neuropsychological evaluation, the evaluation should be conducted by a licensed psychologist or licensed neuropsychologist who has a doctoral degree in psychology and training and expertise in neuropsychology.

It isn’t unusual for a psychometrist, usually a person with a master’s degree in psychology, to do the testing under the “supervision” of the psychologist who holds the PH.D. or E.D.

This should be made clear to the patient and/or parent before the evaluation.  This does not always happen.

A Common Practice

It is a very common practice to have a “tech” administer the evaluations. [Read more →]

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Have You Checked the Site Lately?

by Wrightslaw

What can the site do for you?

  • Find educational consultants, psychologists, educational diagnosticians, health care providers, academic therapists, tutors, speech language therapists, occupational therapists, coaches, advocates, and attorneys for children with disabilities on the Yellow Pages for Kids for your state.
  • You will also find special education schools, learning centers, treatment programs, parent groups, respite care, community centers, grassroots organizations, and government programs for children with disabilities.

Check out the Yellow Page for Kids User Guide – It will teach you how to be a more effective advocate. Learn how to build your team, get educated about your child’s disability, find special education advocacy training, locate a parent group, and get legal and advocacy help.

Do you help parents and caregivers get special education services for children with disabilities? Does your organization provide information and assistance? Do you facilitate a support or study group for parents of children with disabilities?

Interested in a Free Listing? Click here for the application.

See you on!

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Teacher Limits IEP Goals So Our Daughter Isn’t Overwhelmed

by Wrightslaw

My daughter’s IEP goals were based simply on what her teacher observed. She ignored our suggestions and says she doesn’t believe the issues we have at home are a problem at school.

Her teacher said she wanted only very limited goals so my daughter is not overwhelmed. She says this will leave time to work on other things that won’t be part of the goals.

Where does the law say that a teacher can revise the IEP and base the goals only on what she sees in the classroom?

Use Your Law Book

In your special education law book  the legal requirements in IDEA about IEPs begin on p. 99.

The federal implementing regulations specifically about IEPs start on p. 245.

Search Wrightslaw

Use the google search box on any page.

Search for these terms –

revise IEP, goals, unique needs, present levels, modifications, parent participation, parent input

Learn about Present Levels

IDEA requires the IEP to include a statement of the child’s Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance. Your daughter’s goals should be based on the Present levels – her strengths and weaknesses and unique needs. [Read more →]

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Prince William Schools Restrain, Seclude Disabled Kids Frequently, Inquiry Finds

by Wrightslaw

“Federal civil rights officials have found that two Prince William County public schools for students with emotional disabilities frequently restrained, secluded and removed children from classrooms in a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to behavior management that took away instructional time and did not account for individual student needs.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) said there was not evidence that students were physically harmed by restraint and seclusion at the schools, PACE East, in the Manassas area, and PACE West, in Gainesville.

But an investigation concluded that the techniques were part of an approach that denied students with disabilities a free appropriate public education, as required by law. “The frequent use of these restrictive interventions suggests these strategies are not effective at changing or minimizing the problematic behavior,” the findings also said.

Lawyers who filed the complaint planned to announce the result Thursday, saying they hoped it would send a broader message about limiting use of restraint and seclusion to emergency situations. The case comes amid a national conversation about the practices, which are often used for students with disabilities and have come under sharp focus amid reports of physical injuries and other damaging effects.

‘I think these findings are beneficial to children with emotional disabilities, and I think they are beneficial for parents of children with disabilities, and I think they are instructive to educators, if they pay attention,’ said William B. Reichhardt, the lead attorney in the case, filed jointly by two law firms and the Legal Aid Justice Centerin Virginia.”

Read the full article, Prince William schools restrain, seclude disabled kids frequently, inquiry finds, in the Washington Post, August 6, 2014.

Inappropriate Use of Restraint and Seclusion in Schools.  (Legal Aid Justice Center News, August 7, 2014).

US DOE Office for Civil Rights (OCR) Letter of Findings, July 29, 2014.

Find more information at Virginia Special Education News.

Bill Reichhardt and Angela Ciolfi, two of the attorneys who filed the complaint are faculty members at the Institute of Special Education Advocacy, ISEA 2014 currently in session at the W & M School of Law.



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