Wrightslaw

The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
August 26, 2004


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ISSN: 1538-3202

In this Issue


My Child Can't Read, What Can I Do?

Teaching Children to Read

New Case: Parents to be Reimbursed for ABA & Private Preschool (LRE)

Intensive Early Intervention & Autism

News! Alaska High-Stakes Lawsuit Settles

News! Class Action Suit Filed in NYC

Wrightslaw Training in IN, CT, VA, OK (Fall 2004)

Find Help in Yellow Pages for Kids

Subscription and Contact Info 

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At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need navigate the confusing world of special education.

Highlights: Advice for parent whose child can't read; teaching children to read; parents of child with autism reimbursed for ABA & private preschool; intensive early intervention & autism; Alaska high-stakes lawsuit settles; class action suit filed in NYC; Wrightslaw programs in Indianapolis, Hartford, Virginia Beach, Oklahoma City; find help in new Yellow Pages for Kids.

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. My Child Can't Read, What Can I Do?

"My child is in fourth grade. He can't read. The teachers at his school are wonderful. They want him to have an aide but the school board won't approve. My child is running out of time. I don't know what to do or where to turn."

Read Sue Heath's advice about strategies parents can use to advocate for their children in My Child Can't Read. Read more Doing Your Homework columns.

Sue Heath is the research editor at Wrightslaw. In addition to writing about creative advocacy strategies in Doing Your Homework, she is co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (ISBN: 1-892320-12-6) published by Harbor House Law Press. Sue also does training on No Child Left Behind.

Great Reviews for Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

"Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind is an excellent resource . . . It suggests clear strategies for using federal general education standards in advocating for individual children . . . includes understandable explanations and commentaries and provides valuable resources on what will continue to be a major issue and determinant in society. I highly recommend this book." Tourette Gazette (Summer 2004)


2. Teaching Children to Read

"No other skill taught in school and learned by children is more important than reading. It is the gateway to all other knowledge. Teaching students to read by the end of third grade is the single most important task assigned to elementary schools." - American Federation of Teachers

We agree. But we are not teaching most children to read by the end of 3rd grade ... or by 12th grade.

According to the Nation's Report Card, only 31 percent of 4th graders and 36 percent of 12th graders are proficient readers. Minority students score lower - just 16 percent of African American and 22 percent of Hispanic 12th graders are proficient readers. Children with disabilities score even lower in reading. (U.S. Department of Education, Nation's Report Card, 2002)

Performance in reading, math and science has not improved in 30 years. U. S. Dept of Ed Graphs

Learn more about reading - learning to read, teaching reading, writing, FAQs, caselaw, training & certification, and a directory of multisensory language providers.


3. New Decision! Parents Reimbursed for ABA & Private Preschool (LRE, Impartiality of Hearing Officers)

K. B. is a young child with autism. Nebo School District (UT) offered to place K. B. in a "hybrid" program at Park View Special Education Preschool. The district also agreed to provide speech and occupational therapy and pay for 8-15 hours of ABA therapy a week.

The parents argued that K.B. required at least 40 hours of ABA therapy a week. The parents provided ABA therapy, an aide, and placed their child in a mainstream private preschool where she made good progress. The parents requested a special education due process hearing, seeking reimbursement for the costs of her special education program.

Another issue in K. B. v. Nebo School District involved the impartiality of hearing officers. At that time, hearing officers in Utah could be retired school district employees, current school district employees, and school board attorneys. In K.B.s case, the hearing officer was employed by another school district.

The substantive IDEA claim was that K.B. was denied a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The procedural IDEA claim was that K.B. was denied an impartial due process hearing because the hearing officer was biased.

In addition to ruling on the parents' reimbursement requests and procedural issues, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit includes a detailed discussion of LRE requirements. Read L.B. and J.B. ex rel. K.B. v. Nebo School District

K. B. and her family were represented by Gary Mayerson, Esq.

Read more Special Education Caselaw.

Learn more about Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).

Learn more about the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)


4. Intensive Early Intervention & Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the child's ability to communicate ideas and feelings, use imagination, and establish relationships with others. No single behavior characterizes autism and no single known cause is responsible for its onset. Currently there is no cure.

All available research strongly suggests that intensive early intervention makes a critical difference to children with autistic spectrum disorders. Without early identification and diagnosis, children with autism are unlikely to learn the skills they need to benefit from education.

The National Research Council analyzed intervention models for young children with autistic disorders and concluded that intensive early intervention "makes a clinically significant difference for many children. Children who had early intervention had better outcomes." Current Interventions in Autism: A Brief Analysis (2 pages)

Autism, Early Intervention & Special Ed:
FAQs, articles, legal resources, recommended books, free publications, and a short list of information and support groups.

Download Dozens of Free Pubs about autism, early intervention, behavior & discipline, high-stakes tests, IEPs, transition, reading, bullying & harassment, high-stakes testing, learning disabilities & dyslexia, retention and social promotion, and more. (Note: The Free Pubs Page changes as we add new publications)


5. News! Alaska High-Stakes Testing Lawsuit Settles

On August 2, the parties in the Alaska high-stakes testing lawsuit announced that they had reached a settlement. Terms of the settlement include:

* Disabled students will be offered alternative ways to demonstrate proficiency in math, reading and writing.

* The exit exam will be a high stakes requirement for graduation in spring of 2005, but may be phased-in.

* The range of accommodations available to students with disabilities will be broadened.

Read the Settlement Agreement in Noon v. .

Learn more about the Alaska High-Stakes Testing Lawsuit and the temporary settlement in April 2004

Learn more about high-stakes testing.


6. News! Class Action Suit Filed in NYC

A class action lawsuit filed by Advocates for Children charges that children with special education needs are being suspended, expelled, transferred, discharged, and removed from NYC schools without being advised of their legal rights. According to the Complaint, students "have missed days, weeks and months of educational services."

The lead attorney Elisa Hyman, said, "The Department of Education has been turning a blind eye to the fact that thousands of children are being improperly excluded from school and denied educational services, in violation of federal law."

More special education news


7. Wrightslaw Programs in IN, CT, VA, OK (Fall 2004)

"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!"

Pete and Pam Wright are scheduled to do special education legal and advocacy programs in four regions of the country this Fall.

Midwest:
Indianapolis, IN (September 17)

Northeast: Hartford, CT (September 21-22)

Mid-Atlantic: Virginia Beach, VA (November 12-13)

South Central: Oklahoma City, OK (December 4) FREE to Oklahoma parents & educational caregivers

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.

Participants at these training programs will receive two books, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law and Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, as part of their registration (Value: $59.90).

"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

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 and 2006.)


8. Need Help? Visit the Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

If you are looking for help - or a helper - visit the new updated Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities. Your state Yellow Pages has many resources - evaluators, speech language therapists, tutors, special ed schools, advocates, attorneys, organizations, and support groups.

Finding help is often difficult. These articles will help:

What to Expect from an Evaluation of Your Child

Working with Independent Evaluators and Educational Consultants

Strategies to Find a Support or Study Group

Free Listings in the Yellow Pages: If you help parents get services for children (i.e., an evaluator, educational consultant, academic tutor, advocate, attorney, special ed school, etc.) or you facilitate a support or study group for parents, submit an application be listed in the Yellow Pages for Kids. Send an email to app@yellowpagesforkids.com for an application. Listings in the Yellow Pages are free.

Help Others: Please print and distribute Flyers for Your State Yellow Pages for Kids.


9. 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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