Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
July 21, 2004


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ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue


Dealing with a Hostile School Environment

Two Goals: Resolve Problems & Protect Relationships

Letter to Stranger - Changing Perspective

Learn to Negotiate & Persuade

Wrightslaw Programs in Indianapolis, IN & Hartford, CT (Sept, 2004)

Legal Decisions About Advocacy by Parents

Getting to Yes; How to Argue & Win

Subscription and Contact Info 
 

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At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need to navigate the confusing world of special education. In this issue, we look at advocacy skills.

Highlights: Dealing with a hostile school environment; resolving problems & protecting relationships; Letter to the Stranger & changing perspectives; learning to negotiate & persuade; advocacy training programs in Indianapolis, IN & Hartford CT; legal decisions about advocacy by parents; Getting to Yes, How to Argue and Win.

The Special Ed Advocate newsletter is free - please forward this issue or the subscription link to your friends and coworkers so they can learn about special education law and advocacy too. We appreciate your help!

Wrightslaw is ranked #1 in education law, special education law, and special education advocacy. (Alexa rankings)


1. How to Deal with a Hostile Environment at School

Lynne writes, "We are having difficulty with a 'hostile environment' at school. Our three-year-old has an aid. The teacher and teacher's assistant are angry at the aid because she informed us that our son, who has feeding problems, was force fed during his first week in the school."

"The district informed the aid that she is not to tell us anything that goes on in the classroom. Does the aid have a right to tell us what is going on? My guess is yes. Is there any law or caselaw that we can refer to?"

What do you think? What rights do the parent and aid have? Can the school order the aid to keep silent? How should the parent deal with this situation?

Pete and Pam Wright answer these questions - and offer advice - in How to Deal with a Hostile Environment at School

Read more FAQs


2. Two Goals: Resolve the Problem & Protect the Relationship

When you have a dispute or disagreement with the school, you have two goals: to resolve the problem and protect the parent-school relationship.

In
Understanding the Playing Field, Indiana advocate Pat Howey discusses trust, expectations, power struggles between parents and schools and how to avoid them, the parental role, and the need to understand different perspectives.

How to Disagree with the IEP Team - Without Starting WW III - Pete Wright answers questions about IEPs and how to disagree with the IEP team without starting World War III. Learn about the Rules of Adverse Assumptions, how to use tape recording and thank you letters to clarify issues, and how to deal with an IEP team bully.

More articles about Advocacy


3. Change Your Perspective - Read "Letter to the Stranger"

When you read our article, Letter to the Stranger, it may change your perspective, how you view the process, and your role. After you read Letter to the Stranger, read these articles about letter-writing.

The Art of Writing Letters teaches you how to use tactics and strategies when you write letters to the school. You learn about the Blame Approach and the Storytelling Approach; the sympathy factor; first impressions; pitfalls; and the powerful decision-making Stranger. 

If you have a problem with the school or concerns about your child's program, you must document your concerns in writing. 12 Rules for Writing Great Letters includes rules for writing letters and editing tips. 

Note: Our book, From Emotions to Advocacy, includes two chapters about letter-writing and 15 sample letters that you can tailor to your circumstances.

More articles about letter writing, paper trails, sample letters.


4. Learn to Negotiate & Persuade

Parents need to realize that they negotiate with the school for their child's special education program. In
Learning to Negotiate is Part of the Advocacy Process, advocate Brice Palmer describes negotiating in advocacy, explains important rules, and offers excellent tactics and techniques.

We also recommend that you to read two books (assuming you have already read our book, From Emotions to Advocacy!)

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury will teach you how to negotiate "win-win" solutions to disputes without damaging your relationship with the school.

How to Argue and Win Every Time by Gerry Spence will teach you how to persuade others to see things as you do, understand your perspective, and WANT to help. How to Argue includes great stories about how people dealt with situations similar to yours. Read the story in Chapter 8 about the mother who wanted her county to fix a dangerous road. After you read this story, you will understand what you need to do.

You can get these books from most libraries and bookstores. You can also order them from The Advocacy Bookstore (our online bookstore).


5. Join Pete & Pam Wright for Advocacy Training Programs in IN & CT (September 2004)

"The Wrightslaw Special Education Law Seminar in Michigan was a tremendously rewarding experience and will forever change our practice." - Bryan I. Eder, Esq., Chudnof & Eder, PLC

Wrightslaw legal advocacy programs focus on four areas: special education law, rights and responsibilities; tests and measurements to measure progress & regression; SMART IEPs; and advocacy tactics & strategies.

September 17: Indianapolis, IN

September 21-22: Hartford, CT (Mini Boot Camp)

"What a marvelous conference! I often leave sped presentations angry and/or guilty because of all the things that have been done or not done. This time I left encouraged, inspired and armed!"

Fall 2004
: Programs are also scheduled in Virginia Beach, VA and Oklahoma City, OK. Full schedule

If you are interested in bringing Pete and Pam Wright to your community, please read our FAQs about Seminars. (We are scheduling programs for 2005-2006.)


6. Legal Decisions about Advocacy by Parents

Collingsru v. Palmyra Bd. of Education,  U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 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.

More Special Education Caselaw

Visit the Special Education Law Library for statutes, regulations, legal articles, analyses, reports, and news.


7. Getting to Yes; How to Argue & Win

As you hone your advocacy skills, we recommend two books (assuming you have read our book, From Emotions to Advocacy!)

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury will teach you how to negotiate "win-win" solutions to disputes without damaging your relationship with the school.

How to Argue and Win Every Time by Gerry Spence will teach you how to persuade others to see things as you do, understand your perspective, and WANT to help. How to Argue includes great stories about how people dealt with disputes that are similar to special ed disputes. Read the story in Chapter 8 about the mother who wanted her county to fix a dangerous road. After you read this story, you will understand what you need to do.

You can get these books from most libraries and bookstores. You can order Getting to Yes and How to Argue and Win from most online bookstores, including Amazon.com and the Wrightslaw Advocacy Bookstore (our online bookstore).


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.

Law Library Seminars & Training
Advocacy Yellow Pages for Kids
No Child Left Behind Free Newsletter
IDEA Reauthorization Newsletter Archives

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043
Website: http://www.wrightslaw.com
Email: newsletter@wrightslaw.com


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