Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
In this issue, you learn about a new pro-child decision in an ABA-Lovaas case and how caselaw is evolving; read what people are saying about Wrightslaw: Special Education Law; get links to free pubs about reading and learning disabilities; look at the lighter side of IEP meetings; and learn when Pete & Pam are coming to NJ, MA, FL and VA.
1. New Pro-Child Decision in ABA Lovaas Case
On March 25, 2003, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a unanimous decision in an ABA/Lovaas case. News
In G. v. Fort Bragg Dependent Schools, the Court addresses the rights of children who attend Dept of Defense schools; FAPE & educational benefit; procedural safeguards and notice by parents; methodology issues; reimbursement for a home-based Lovaas program; compensatory education for failure to provide FAPE; prevailing party status & attorneys fees.
The Court described the background of the case as follows:
"G is the son of a Sergeant in the United States Air Force, stationed at Pope Air Force Base in Fayetteville, North Carolina. . ."
"Around the end of the 1995-1996 school year, concerned that G did not appear to be progressing in the development of appropriate behaviors and skills, G's mother attended a conference on the "Lovaas" method. After some further research, G's mother communicated to G's teachers and others within FBDS that she felt the Lovaas method held great promise for G."
"In May of 1996, FBDS proposed an IEP for G . . . the proposed IEP did not include any Lovaas techniques or methods, and G's mother rejected it."
beginning in the summer of 1996, G's parents took steps to have
the Lovaas method provided for G in their home by private consultants
certified in its implementation. To pay the cost of the program,
G's parents launched an ambitious fundraising effort, eventually
raising over $37,000 from community sources."
Download the decision in G v. Fort Bragg Dependent Schools -
For FAQs, articles, and legal resources about autism, extended school year, LRE / inclusion, book recommendations, free publications, and a short list of information and support groups about autism, please go to the Autism page at http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/autism.index.htm
2. Evolving ABA/ Lovaas Caselaw
Caselaw continues to evolve in ABA/Lovaas cases. If you want to learn more about these cases, these decisions will help to clarify the issues.
T. H. v. Bd. Ed. Palatine IL (N. D. IL 1999)
Powerful well-written decision in ABA-Lovaas case; discusses methodology, IEP development process; IEP goals and objectives, individualization, educational benefit, unilateral placement by parents, reimbursement, standard of review. (pdf)
Michael v. Kanawaha (S.D. WVA 2000)
Michael M is one of Pete's favorite cases; the decision includes an excellent discussion of IEPs.
Stefan Jaynes v. Newport News (E.D. VA 2000)
School failed to provide an appropriate program for a young child with autism; judge orders school to reimburse parents more than 100K. (Pete Wright represented Stefan)
Stefan Jaynes v. Newport News (4th Cir. 2001)
Child with autism whose parents provided intensive homebased ABA/Lovaas program; discussion of statutes of limitations, procedural safeguards, notice requirements, and reimbursement; upholds earlier decisions that school must reimburse parents for ABA / Lovaas program.
Amanda C. v. Clark County Sch. Dist. and Nevada Dept of Educ. (9th Cir. 2001)
Court of Appeals reinstates the hearing officer's decision; cites school employees for failure to inform parents of rights; procedural safeguards violations.
For more caselaw about special education issues, please visit the Caselaw Library
3. What People Are Saying . . . Wrightslaw: Special Education Law
Special education law is confusing to most parents, educators, and even to many attorneys. Ignorance of the law can be as damaging as the childs disability.
What does the law say about evaluations and reevaluations? Test procedures? Eligibility?
What does the law say about Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) and IEP teams? IEP Goals, objectives, benchmarks? What does the law say about inclusion? Least restrictive environment?
What does the law say about discipline? Positive behavioral intervention plans? Interim alternative placements? Manifestation Review Hearings?
What does the law say about parent notice? Independent educational evaluations? Tuition reimbursement? Mediation? Due process?
Where can you find accurate answers to your questions about special education law? Look up answers to your questions in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law. (The deluxe edition includes the Special Ed Law CD ROM)
you are involved with special education, you should read this
book." Sandra Koser Steingart, Ph.D, School
Psychology Resources Online
Tip: "I take a laptop and the Wrightslaw CD to meetings. When someone says "We can't do that", I search the CD to find out what the law really says on the subject. This strategy has been very effective and our team members have learned a lot. Now the teachers ask me to look things up for them! The CD has been a great team-builder!" - Jan B. from Indiana
Wrightslaw: Special Education Law has been endorsed by university professors, disabilities groups, educators, parents, child advocates, and attorneys.
"A must-have book for anyone who works in special education . . . brings Special Education Law into focus through clear, concise use of normal language." - Margaret Kay, Ed.D. Psychologist
"Will help you navigate through special education, and use the law to demand/get a good education for your child." - Thom Hartmann (author of ADD: A Different Perception; Beyond ADD; Healing ADD; and more)
4. Free Pubs: Reading & Learning Disabilities
Most children who receive special education services have reading deficits. In far too many cases, the school's reading program does not help the child overcome these deficits.
Ten Myths of Reading Instruction
Describes the most damaging myths and misconceptions about reading instruction. If your child has reading problems, or you teach children who have reading problems, read "Ten Myths of Reading Instruction." Here are four of the myths.
Myth #1. Learning to read is a natural process.
Myth #3. Reading programs are "successful."
#6. Research ban be used to support whatever your beliefs are
- lots of programs are "research based."
If your child has reading problems, we suggest that you make copies of Ten Myths of Reading Instruction and distribute it to members of your child's IEP team.
Teaching Reading is Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers Should Know and Be Able to Do
Teaching Reading IS Rocket Science by Louisa Moats is a 36 pages publication from the American Federation of Teachers.
"Research shows that a child who doesn't learn the reading basics early is unlikely to learn them at all. Any child who doesn't learn to read early and well will not easily master other skills and knowledge and is unlikely to ever flourish in school or in life."
On Babies and Bathwater: Addressing the Problems of Identification of Learning Disabilities
On Babies & Bathwater by Thomas E. Scruggs and Margo A. Mastropieri focuses on issues surrounding the identification of students with LD. The article was published in Learning Disability Quarterly, the scholarly journal of the Council for Learning Disabilities, and made available by The Advocacy Institute.
Free Pubs Page
You can download free publications about IEPs, special education, transition planning, reading, children's mental health, harassment, high-stakes testing, retention and social promotion, zero tolerance and discipline from our Free Pubs page. We are continually adding new publications so check back often.
5. The Lighter Side of Special Ed: The IEP by Aimee Gilman
Aimee Gilman is an Ohio attorney who represents kids with disabilities and the parent of a child with a disability. She is also very funny. Aimee shares her views about IEPs and IEP meetings in The Lighter Side of Special Education: The IEP.
"Your school district, in an ongoing effort to remind you of the incredibly small role moms and dads play in this process, will start by sending you an "Invitation" to attend your child's IEP meeting."
6. Wrightslaw: Advocacy Training: April-May 2003
Knowledge is power. When you have information and skills, you will be a more effective advocate for your child. Our role is to help you gain knowledge so you can negotiate with the school on your child's behalf.
Over the next few weeks, we will do training programs in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, and Virginia.
One-day advocacy seminars focus on four areas: special education law, rights and responsibilities; how to use the bell curve to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and how to use tactics & strategies for effective advocacy. Two-day programs are more intensive and individualized.
For information about these events and programs that will be held over the next few months, please check our Seminars & Training page.
If you are interested in learning how to get Pete & Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars.
7. Subscription & Contact Info
The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Subscribers receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books.