Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
At Wrightslaw, our goals are to help you gain the information and skills you need navigate the confusing world of special education.
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.
1. My Child Can't Read, What Can I Do?
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."
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.
2. Teaching Children to Read
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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."
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!"
Northeast: Hartford, CT (September 21-22)
Mid-Atlantic: Virginia Beach, VA (November 12-13)
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.
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
to Find a Support or Study Group
9. Subscription & Contact Info
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.