Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills
you need to navigate the confusing world of special education.
- what will you do this week; 1st Circuit rules parent can represent
child in IDEA dispute; cases about advocacy by parents; Game Plan
to resolve eligibility disputes; Wrightslaw: Special Education Law;
advocacy training programs in MS, NY, OK; A Call to Action on October
1. What Will You Do This Week?
recent newsletters, we asked readers: "What will you do this
week to improve education outcomes for children in your community?
Think about it."
2. New Case! 1st Circuit Rules That Parent Can Represent Child in IDEA Dispute
On October 9, 2003, the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit breaks new ground, rules that parents can pursue IDEA claims in federal court without an attorney.
case involved parents who appealed a special education administrative
due process decision to federal court without an attorney. The
New Hampshire District Court ruled that the parents could not
proceed with the claims without an attorney and dismissed the
rejecting the reasoning of other circuits, the First Circuit created
a "split among circuits" on this issue. The First Circuit
includes Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and
3. Cases About Advocacy by Parents
Collingsru v. Palmyra Bd. of Education, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Parent rights - Can a non-attorney parent represent his or her child in court? Why? Why not?
Erickson v. Bd. Ed. Baltimore County. U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Decision about attorneys fees for prevailing parent-attorneys.
G. v. Cumberland Valley , U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Tuition reimbursement, LRE and "vigorous advocacy" by parents
4. Game Plan to Resolve Eligibility Disputes
A parent writes: "My son has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), ODD, learning disabilities in written expression and a graphomotor disorder. The school staff agree with this diagnosis but say he doesnt qualify for special education because he is making good grades. Is this true? What guidelines exist about grades and eligibility for special education?"
From Wrightslaw: How are eligibility decisions made? What role do grades play? Good questions.
Your position is that your child has a disability AND that your child needs special education. The schools position is that your child has a disability but does NOT need special education.
Game Plan To Resolve Eligibility Disputes
Most eligibility disputes involve disagreements about whether a child with a disability needs special education services, not whether the child has a disability.
Here is a game plan to help you resolve this dispute. Although you wont be able to resolve EVERY dispute with this plan, you can resolve many disputes by taking these steps.
First, you need to learn about:
Legal Rights and Responsibilities
5. 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?
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
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)
6. Advocacy Training - Join Pete and Pam for an Advocacy Training Program (MS, VA, NY, OK)
"Your boot camp was the most useful CLE I've ever attended. CLEs are notoriously boring and unpleasant. Your program was neither and I learned a lot, even as an experienced practitioner in the field." - Rob Mead, KU Wheat Law Library
Wrightslaw training programs focus on four areas: special education laws, rights & responsibilities; how to use the bell curve to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and tactics & strategies for effective advocacy.
November 7-8: Jackson MS (Last Boot Camp in 2003!)
For more 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. A Call to Action - Richmond, VA (October 18, 2003)
join Pete and Pam Wright for "A Call to Action" at T.
C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond.
IDEA Amendments by Larry Searcy, Legislative Director, Center for Law Education
No Child Left Behind by Pam Wright, M.A., M.S.W. and Pete Wright, Esq.
Diploma Options (Will Kids with Disabilities Be Left Out?)
Coalition Building in Local Communities
If you would like to receive a brochure for A Call to Action - or you want several brochures to distribute to members of your community, please contact Cheryl Ward.
8. 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.