The April 4 issue of The Special Ed Advocate featured articles by attorneys who are members of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA). Topics included expert witnesses, trial preparation, due process hearings, and high stakes testing.
2. Progress Report: Online Training Programs
In the January 17, 2006 issue of The Special Ed Advocate, we advised you that we were investigating online training. After doing preliminary research, we learned that three types of programs dominated the market:
* Telephone conference call
The topic for the first program will be "Tests and Measurements for the Parent, Educator, Advocate and Attorney." The program will teach you how to use the Bell Curve, standard scores and percentile ranks to understand your child's test data. The program will also include a segment about how to create charts and graphs of the child's test data to determine if the child is making progress, is stagnant, or is regressing and falling further behind.
Since the first program will be a learning experience for us, we will limit attendance to less than 50 participants and will ask for their input after the program. The first program will be offered at a significant discount, well below the fee we pay WebEx. After the first program, we will incorporate participants' suggestions and repeat the program for a larger audience.
We expect to advise you about the time and date for the first Wrightslaw Webinar soon! If you have an idea about a program you would like us to consider, please drop us a line. In the subject line, please type TRAINING IDEA (in ALL CAPS). Thank you!
3. Advice from Advocates & Reading Specialists
Sue Heath writes articles about reading, research based instruction, school improvement, and creative advocacy strategies in Doing Your Homework. Here is a sample of her articles.
Preventing Reading Difficulties and Reading Failure: Early Intervention and Prevention - Sue Heath responds to a teacher's request for information about research on teaching children; includes a comprehensive list of free publications, articles, research - and a free video. Read article.
What Are the Criteria for Remedial Reading Programs? Learn three reasons for reading failure, six qualities of effective reading programs, requirements for research based reading programs - and the price children pay when we do not teach them to read. Sue Heath describes the federal model reading program (90 minutes of instruction, 5 days a week) with frequent objective assessments, and offers questions you should ask about your child's reading program. Read article.
Exit Exams Can Be Optional If You Plan Ahead - Sue Heath describes a simple strategy that allows students who complete high school coursework but do not pass the state exit exam to graduate with a high school diploma - with or without a graduation ceremony. Read article.
4. Advice from Lay Advocates: IEP Meetings, Complaints, Negotiating, Due Process Hearings
From Pat Howey, Indiana Advocate
Pat Howey is an advocate who has helped parents obtain special education services for their children with special education needs since 1986. Pat answers questions in Ask the Advocate:
In Parents Must Understand the Playing Field, Pat Howey explains that parents need to learn about trust, expectations, how to avoid power struggles, the parental role, and how to understand different perspectives. Read article.
How to Prepare for an IEP Meeting - Pat offers commonsense advice to a parent who is frustrated because the school has ignored her requests for help. Read article.
What You Need to Know Before You File a Complaint with the State - Pat shares her experiences and opinions about filing a complaint with the state department of education. Read article.
From Brice Palmer, Vermont Advocate
In How to Prepare for a Due Process Hearing, Brice Palmer explains, "You need to present your case in an organized manner that gives the decision-maker enough good factual information to reach a conclusion in your favor -- this is different from advocating at IEP meetings or evaluation meetings. Read article.
Learning to Negotiate is Part of the Advocacy Process, Mr. Palmer describes the role of negotiating in advocacy, offers rules to guide you, and describes tactics and techniques that will help you be a more effective negotiator - even if your case never goes to a due process hearing. Read article.
Learn more about mediation and negotiation.
Learn more about due process hearings.
5. Advice from Evaluators & Educational Consultants: Reading Tests, Reading Methods, Resolving Parent School Disputes
Reading Tests: What They Measure, and Don't Measure - Before educators can design an effective remedial program for a child, they must understand the exact nature of the child's weaknesses. This is not as easy as it sounds. Dr. Farrall describes the most commonly used tests of reading - what they measure, how they are administered, and their limitations. Read article.
Reading Recovery: What do School Districts Get for Their Money? Reading Recovery is an early intervention program that has been widely acclaimed as an effective means to improve the reading skills of young children. How effective is Reading Recovery? Dr. Farrall examines the research on Reading Recovery show? Read article.
6. Coming Soon! Wrightslaw Programs in MA, NY, PA, DE
If you want to attend a Wrightslaw Special Education Law & Advocacy Training Program before the end of the 2005-2006 school year, you need act now.
May 11: Springfield, MA - Special Education Law & Advocacy Training by Pete Wright and Pam Wright, sponsored by ACCESS Solutions for Life, Inc.
May 17: Rochester, NY - Special Ed Law & Advocacy Training. by Wayne Steedman and Pat Howey, sponsored by Greater Rochester S.A.F.E.
June 7: Wilkes-Barre, PA - From Emotions to Advocacy Training by Pat Howey, sponsored by Supporting Autism and Families Everywhere (SAFE).
June 14: Rehobeth, DE - Special Ed Law & Advocacy Training by Pete Wright and Pam Wright, sponsored by The Arc of Delaware ~ Parent Mentor Program.
2006 Schedule l Wrightslaw Programs
The Special Ed Advocate is a free online newsletter about special education legal and advocacy issues, cases, and tactics and strategies. Newsletter subscribers also receive "alerts" about new cases, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw books. Subscribe